Market Research: Improved Business Intelligence for Sales, Marketing, Product Management and Strategic Planning

Background:

An international product development company frequently launched new products at a major trade show. This trade show is an important venue in the industry as nearly all of the decision makers for the North American market—and many international markets—attend the show to see new products, make purchasing decisions on currently available products and preview products in development for future purchase decisions.

Feedback and insight from attendees is in high demand at this trade show so the company could:

  • better forecast upcoming sales by different product lines for the next year
  • get feedback on products in development so changes could be made prior to their launch
  • learn about their customers’ opinions of products offered by competitors

Gathering this information in a reliable way is very difficult. By working with Feedback Systems the customer was able to gather—and then distribute—a wide range of important information easily.

Problems and Challenges:

Gathering usable information at trade shows was very difficult for the company. Problems included:

  • Most of the feedback was anecdotal. Customers would usually only talk to a sales representative at the trade show and feedback was generally sales oriented.
  • Not much feedback was sought for product development, strategic planning, etc.
  • Customers may spend a relatively short amount of time in our customer’s booth while at the trade show.
  • The personnel staffing the booth was mainly sales so specific feedback on products rarely made it back to product designers and other key employees.
Possible Solutions:

Several options to better capture customer feedback at industry trade shows were considered. Most of the solutions did not meet the customer’s needs in some way, for example:

  • Paper surveys were a logistical nightmare, could not be customized by product, and the time needed for the data entry and coding of paper surveys was not ideal.
  • Having computers in the trade show booth was considered although this option was not ideal because of space issues and the potential to take away from the theme of the booth.
  • E-mail to web surveys was another option which the customer had used before with mixed results. The response rate was historically low and reliability was a concern since customers would be taking a web-based survey several days after attending the trade show.
The Solution:

Instead, the client used hand-held survey devices—Feedback Kiosks—provided by Feedback Systems to gather customer feedback at the trade show. The benefits to this option included:

  • A survey with an easy-to-use interface making survey completion quick.
  • The surveys included a robust logic-based question design which allowed only showed questions to participants about products they had seen.
  • The handheld units were able to identify which survey participants were key decision makers and buyers so analysis could be done specifically on this subset of attendees.
  • Questions included areas important to not only sales but also marketing, product management, research and development and strategic planning.

Feedback Systems compiled and created custom reports for our client that was distributed to many key personnel within the organization. Previously this information was unavailable to many departments in the organization.