The “Factory Tour” – The Forgotten Component of Research

Over 50 years ago, a CD from the agency that represented Mobil Oil was on-site at their headquarters. He took a tour of the plant and discovered that a small amount of detergent goes into the gasoline. The tagline “drive your Engine Clean” was born.

In todays digital world, we rarely take time to actually know a product or consumer personally. When it comes to primary research, we send off a survey via the Internet.

My favorite way to do primary is through trial and observation. Go visit or buy your product. Try it. Smell it. Taste it. Give it to your family and friends. Watch them use it. Go to a store and observe customers. How much time do they spend looking at your product? How many additional services do they take advantage of? Do they look at the price tag and frown or buy it in bulk?

Firsthand experience gives you important insights that may lead to the big idea. But remember, firsthand experience alone may cause you to think that others may think or behave the same as you. Therefore observation of others is also a critical component of this research method.

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