Recently, I watched “Four Weddings and A Funeral,” a movie from the mid-1990s starring Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell. While the overall story covers the two main characters falling in love, I found an underlying theme more interesting. The question posed, early in the film, is whether someone can find their mate-for-life and future spouse at a wedding.
At first glance, this seems like an odd proposal. As a child, I went to lots of weddings. We lived in a small community where my dad was an influential businessman, and I had a lot of older cousins. Weddings were boring, formal affairs – you had to be quiet and eat with the proper fork. Further, being much younger than everyone else, no one cared to talk with me. Very boring!
But, in “Four Weddings and A Funeral,” the wedding guests were friends of about the same age and did, indeed, find true love at the weddings. The wedding guests shared mostly similar educations, similar incomes, and similar interests. When you throw a crowd of people together with these characteristics, bonds are sure to form.
As a new product development practitioners and product managers, we must recognize that our customers are like wedding guests. They often have similar expectations which drive similar behaviors. Our customers probably share similar needs to get a job done, share similar interests, and share similar value propositions. It is our job to figure out these needs and turn them into beneficial features.
Traditional market research uses different methodologies to identify customer needs and to segment customers into similar categories. These market research methods might include interviews, focus groups, or surveys. These tools help us to convert qualitative ideas into quantitative concepts that are transformed to new products.
An Example of Similarity
Consider grocery shopping. While supermarkets have small margins, most have successfully segmented their customers by similar shopping experiences. There are big carts available for the customer who shops only once a week for the entire family. There are hand baskets for customers who just want to grab a few items in a quick stop. Finally, there are customers who send their grocery list to the supermarket and idle their car in the parking lot while a clerk loads their trunk.
Supermarkets, thus, recognize similar behaviors of these three segments of customers. Products and services are marketed in different ways to each segment, yet individual customers within a category or segment approach shopping in a similar way. Selling 24-packs are geared to the once-a-week shopper and impulse items at the register are aimed at the light shopper.
Can you find your spouse and lifelong love at a wedding? Probably, if you share similarities to the other wedding guests. Can you market products to specific categories of customers? Absolutely, if you segment similar shoppers. Can you learn to identify customers similarities? Yes, if you join me on 14 March for a free webinar on market research tools. Register here.
A Division of Global NP Solutions, LLC
Study. Learn. Earn. Simple.