Using detailed interviews to build personas

This is the fifth post in my Customer Research series. There are many awesome posts on personas, including this primer by Steve Johnson at Pragmatic Marketing, and this post about how personas serve the CEO and the executive team.  So I am not going to belabor the point.  I’ll simply … Read More

Common ethnographic techniques for market research

This is the fourth post in my Customer Research series. The word “ethnography” has such a grand sound to it.  I’ve seen seasoned executives get intimidated by it. They say things like “Whoa – that’s big agency stuff! We don’t have budget for that!”  To that, my standard response is: … Read More

Subject recruitment for qualitative research

This is the third post in my Customer Research series. One of the trickiest things about customer research is subject recruitment.  The quality and applicability of research results is directly proportional to one’s ability to ask the right questions of the right people. There are generally two types of customer … Read More

From Personas to Functional Specifications

This is the second post in my Customer Research series. Many people have asked me how persona work leads to product requirements and functional specifications.  Here is my personal take. In any new product development effort, we need to ask the following questions: What is the market segment I am … Read More

Why do qualitative research?

This is the first post in my Customer Research series. I will start with a discussion on why I do qualitative research.  Some companies place a disproportionate amount of trust upon quantitative, statistically significant results presented in analyst reports.  Anything involving a handful of research subjects is viewed with deep … Read More

Customer research series

I am doing a bunch of product discovery and product usage research at work.  This is what I love most: getting out of the office and talking to customers.   I decided to start a series on this topic since it is so much fun and so strategic. For this series, … Read More

Why I hate flying United

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I fly to Asia on a regular basis. New Year’s Eve found me in the airport, getting ready to visit Asia once again. United was my second last choice (my absolute last choice is Northwest, which my Japanese friends lovingly nicknamed “Northworst”).  I usually fly Cathay or Continental but the … Read More