The value of digging deeper

As practitioners of Qualitative methods, we often counsel our clients to dig deeper, get beneath the surface, go for a deep dive.

The reason, of course, is that we humans aren’t usually very good at expressing what we really want or feel.  So it’s up to us, the Qualies, to try and tease out what the underlying concerns, problems and, eventually, the opportunities are for our clients.

A real life example of the value of looking below the surface has reinforced this with us.  We live in a part of the world where it snow in the winter, sometimes frequently enough that we tend to look past it.

Last weekend we had a fairly heavy snowfall, one which precipitated a call to Glenn, our snow plow guy. He came by and did his usual great job…no more snow on the driveway. (The driveway, by the way, is nearly 200 feet long and curves up about an 80 foot hill!)

The night after, we had a slight snowfall, maybe 2 inches (5 cm) of light, fluffy snow; too little to call for Glenn we thought.  So we happily left it, drove in and out a few times over the next 2 day… no worries.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to us, trouble was brewing (actually freezing) beneath the surface.  By the time Tuesday rolled around, our driveway was a nice, hard-packed, snowy hill.  Our ever-reliable VW Golf arrived home from work, in the dark, and made it 2/3rds of the way up the hill before losing traction on the ICE that had formed under the lovely, fluffy snow!

So, out with the shovels, ice scraper, ice melter, to try and solve the problem.  Late the next day, and another excursion with the winter tools, and with the help of Mother Nature (i.e. the sun), we had a lovely, dry, ice-free driveway.

The moral of the story is that if you only look at the surface, and don’t dig deeper, you can be stopped in your tracks by the things that you missed.  It’s much easier to do the work right in the first place than to try and work around the uncovered obstacles.

Here’s to uncovering the deeper truth, and an obstacle-free marketing plan!


About Panoptika

You know when you wonder if you really know what your customers want? What I do is help you work with your customers, or potential customers, in a way that connects you more deeply than you thought possible. We can do this through traditional techniques, such as Focus Groups, Qualitative and Quantitative studies, etc. or, if you really want to know your customers and the future of your brand, you can involve them in Innovation Games(TM).

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