How I Did Product Research With My Friends
How many times in the old days were you approached in a mall, by clipboard holding individuals, who wanted to ask you a question about your experience with a product or company? Things have changed now, right? There are now whole internet approaches where your info is gathered without you even realizing it. If you don’t sign out of your FaceBook account when you are done, and who does, they are constantly gathering info about your research or purchases. That’s how the items that you just looked at online, will show up as an advertisement on your FB feed. Opinion gathering has been going on for a very long time. It is after all, valuable for sellers, to help them find their markets and see how people feel about their products.
Recently, while out to dinner with my businessman husband, we were talking about Hastypearl and the business side of things. He surprised me when he said, I would like to see you do a Product Research Exercise with some of your friends, and see what they say about your product, which for me is…Art.
I had read about such business oriented exercises, but really hadn’t thought about doing it. I was frankly so surprised by his suggestion, that I immediately responded that I would do it !
I really hadn’t labored over a plan of action at all, and one afternoon, before we joined some very close couple friends for dinner at one of their houses, it popped into my mind, that that might be a good place to do an impromptu Hastypearl Product Research. I called the host ahead of time, to get her permission and she said it sounded fun ! I promise, I didn’t hijack the evening at all. I say that because we all can readily come up with reasons Not to do things, that might make us feel a little awkward.
Now, those of you who have studied marketing extensively, will immediately see holes in what I did, but I wasn’t doing this for a major corporation, I was doing it for me…a small business owner.
Literally, at the last minute, I devised a plan, grabbed 10 pieces of art from different mediums, made some squares of papers with numbers on them and asked my husband to add additional art, that he would like to see in the group. He added 3 more items.
We arrived, gave our hello hugs, and I slipped into our hosts dining room and spread the 13 pieces of art out on her beautiful recently remodeled buffet. It was a perfect place to display my 13 Hastypearl Art pieces. I placed a number by each piece.
We had a great dinner with lots of relaxed conversation and moved into their living room to continue talking. After a while, I introduced the idea, but let Larry tell them what HE was thinking, when he made the suggestion to me.
There were a few instructions…
~I wanted them to rank each item 1-13. Not based on what they would buy, because that wasn’t what I was asking them to do. Just to put them in order of their appeal, to them as individuals.
~I told them that they didn’t even have to Like any of it. Everyones idea of art is different. I didn’t take any serious drawings or paintings. To some, those types of art are exclusively representational, of art.
~I suggested that they might mark their first and last favorites and continue to fill in that way.
~I said that they might only select 3 items, if that was easer for them.
I teased them that No persuading or under the table influencing, was allowed ; )
I assured them that their pages would be anonymous. My husband participated and of course I recognized his handwriting, but I knew I couldn’t identify handwriting of numbers, written by the group.
Below, is what my NON SCIENTIFIC exercise looked like.
(pics are not great, but you can see what the layout looked like)
So, everyone quietly, and thoughtfully filled out their simple forms.
I was Completely surprised that everyone ranked All Thirteen pieces.
Everyone finished at different times, with one person taking longer than the rest.
I thanked them and nothing more was said about the exercise.
When we got home, I simply added up the totals and placed the pieces in order, 1-13. Again, my husbands original thoughts were that it might be beneficial to see what peoples perceptions were, of my art.
I emailed my friends the next morning with the results, as they asked me to. I LOVE analytics. I love getting feedback for everything.
I was Really surprised by some of the findings, and there was a clear “winner”, which really isn’t the right word, because that’s not what I was really looking for, but in the end, it’s really what happened. I was looking for Trends of styles and I also learned a lot about that.
Without overloading you with the details of things, like I did my very tolerant and indulgent friends, I wouldn’t have EVER picked their First placed piece. My Most Favorite pieces were quite low in rankings in 5th place, (shared with two others that got exactly the same votes) 7th (shared with one other that got exactly the same votes) and 9th(or, last place).
All of it was really significant for me, and if You choose to do this, it will really show you how different, peoples tastes are. One example of this was that for TWO pieces, they each received a #1 and #13 vote ! Meaning, one person placed the same piece of art first, while another placed it last.
So, do you see what can happen with You as an artist or truthfully anyone that markets a product or idea?
We can be so emotionally attached to our work, maybe because it is a breakthrough of some kind, or maybe done on a crazy wonderful day, or all kinds of emotional reasons that only matter to us during the time that we create something, that we don’t even realize that the public doesn’t feel the same.
Yes, I could do this same exercise with a larger group of people…in a much more scientific way, and my Favorites might move up in the rankings (there are actually online companies where you pay per click to get feedback on Anything). Reasons that could have influenced selections might have been colors (did you know that Blue is the Worlds most favorite color and orange is the least? Many of my pieces were orange), some of my pieces were framed, others were not, some were dimensional, some were flat. The variables for selection, are endless !
On That night, in That group, with This selection of art, there Was a Winner.
With the results sent, I thanked my friends profusely for indulging me for a few minutes, on a most wonderful evening, together.
AFTER, the Product Research Exercise, my husband received a #1 ranking ; ) for plying them with two rounds of Chocolate Amaretto Freezes! Well, they all deserved a treat for their “hard work” ; )
Oh, so you want to know what the winner was?
I can’t say that I blame them : ) Just look at those adorable ears !
Oh, and my three favorite pieces were all collages, that I’m not sure if I’ve even shown you yet, but I will in another posting.
So, what do you think?
Is this an Exercise that you would consider trying?
If you do it or Have done it, I would love to hear what you learn/learned.
I also feel at the root of things, as Artists, we must continue to do what we love and what is in our hearts. Our “garages may fill up with unsold art”, (I read that somewhere last week), but, we have to continue to stretch and explore our ideas.
Thanks for sticking with me though this longish posting. I hope that You found it to be beneficial and maybe challenging.
The Very Best to You as Always…I’ll be back, soon ! Laura aka Hastypearl
ps…thanks to everyone that has Subscribed to Follow hastypearl. You can do that on the right side of my page while you are looking around my website. You should have received your First Hastypearl Newsletter last week. I’m looking forward to doing more Newsletters, where I will be conducting an upcoming Give Away and announcing Hastypearl Shop Specials !