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A simple approach with significant impact

Researchers on the supplier side of the industry enjoy helping a variety of clients make informed marketing decisions.  At MMR, we focus initially on the up-front Decision Framing™ to develop the best approach for our clients. Once a project is completed, though, it is rare that we get feedback on how our findings and recommendations impacted bottom line business performance.

But MMR recently received an update from a power tool manufacturer that came to us with a product development decision. Because of our up-front Decision Framing™, the approach we developed for this client was well-fitted to help them make the decision that enabled significant, real-world results.

Beginning the Project with Decision Framing™

Our client, a power tool manufacturer, was considering an upgrade to one of its most popular professional-grade power tools. To plan for the launch of the upgraded tool, the new features needed to be optimized among the current user base as well as among users of key competitors to maximize acceptance. Importantly, pricing and positioning needed to be evaluated to ensure that the brand was bringing in new users without alienating current users.

MMR began with our Decision Framing™ process, an up-front discovery system that asks a series of questions to provide an in-depth, multi-focal view of the business context of the decision we are being asked to inform. The Framework then serves as a filter throughout the project development. This process helped us uncover the launch options the manufacturer had at its disposal after the project and the realities of the business constraints, specifically around timing and budget.

Using the results of this process, and in consultation with our client, we developed a simple approach, aligned with our client’s business objectives.

Developing the Solution for Execution

Issues of pricing, positioning and feature-optimization are certainly not unique in product development research, and MMR has designed and executed many concept evaluations and choice-based studies to answer similar questions for many brands. In this specific case, there was neither time nor budget to conduct several studies. Within these real-world business constraints, the experts at MMR designed a very focused 15-minute online study requiring only 300 respondents from a target audience that is somewhat difficult to reach: contractors in specific trades.

Respondents were first taken through a simple choice task which generated share and pricing output without the cost of a full discrete choice study.  After completing the simple choice task, respondents were shown a mini-concept evaluation to address the messaging and positioning objectives.

Actionable Recommendations, and Significant Results

In the choice task, the upgraded tool performed quite well and brought in new users from targeted competitors.  However, the core benefit of the upgrade from the concept test was polarizing among the current user base, which led MMR to recommend introducing the new tool while still maintaining the current model.

Ultimately, the manufacturer followed our recommendation and both models are currently offered.  The client reported that, as our survey finding suggested, having both items available has supported the target audience, and allowed the new model to bring in millions in incremental revenue for the brand, rather than cannibalize purchases of the current model. Both audience segments are happy, the client realized a substantial increase in revenue based on MMR’s recommendation, and MMR received great feedback on how our up-front Decision Framing™ process directly led to back end business impact.

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