Combining customer panels, dipstick testing, and innovative market research for better customer insights

by | Sep 20, 2023 | Customer Experience

See the customer. Hear the customer. Be the customer.

There’s nothing like a hobby. You get to do something you enjoy, develop a skill, and spend money, all while deriving dopamine (the happy hormone) from the process.

Some paint or knit, while others spend hours and thousands on Lego.

If you’re unfamiliar with Lego bricks, where have you been?

But, just in case, Lego bricks are small, colourful building blocks for children (and adults) to build structures. They are also the only objects on earth that can make a fully grown person cry when you step on one.

When we talk about Lego building as a hobby, we aren’t referring to playfully constructing and destroying a tower. This is actually a very serious pastime that requires patience, money, and the right pieces for specific houses, trains, vehicles, and intergalactic spaceships.

Think Star Wars cosplay, but with miniature figurines and a ton of different-shaped blocks.

Building such an important structure means that you need diverse shapes, reliable alignment, and unique design – just like when you conduct customer research on a budget.


How panels, dipstick testing, and market research complement each other

  • Customer panels Like a Lego set contains bricks of different shapes and sizes, customer panels provide diverse perspectives. Individuals represent different backgrounds, preferences, and experiences, giving you a strong foundation that represents a wide range of people. This variety, and its insights, helps you to establish long-term relationships with your customers and get feedback on various aspects of your business, such as product development, pricing, branding, and satisfaction.
  • Dipstick testing Before fully assembling any Lego creation, you must ensure that each piece is sufficiently attached to the next. Similarly, dipstick testing is a checkpoint to ensure you’re on the right track. It involves taking small samples or testing segments of your idea, to gauge reactions and gather initial feedback. This helps you identify misalignments or issues early on. Dipstick testing can be a quick and straightforward way to test a new idea, concept, or product with a small sample of customers.
  • Market research Every Lego creation has unique design elements that set it apart. Innovative market research is like incorporating rare or specialised Lego pieces that add creativity and distinctiveness to your structure, or that elevate your idea. Innovative market research may use gamification, biometrics, eye-tracking, or social media analytics to collect customer data and help you understand emotions, motivations, and subconscious reactions. (Plus, it’s a fun and interactive way to generate more authentic and honest responses.)

Putting it all together to create a masterpiece

When you integrate customer panels, dipstick testing, and innovative research, you create a well-rounded and effective way to gather customer insights – just like when you combine Lego bricks into a captivating structure.

Customer panels provide the necessary diversity, dipstick testing ensures alignment and refinement, and innovative research yields fresh concepts. Combined, these pieces form a structure that resonates with your audience.

How to use these methods at different stages

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to customer research. Depending on your objective, budget, and timeline, you can use these methods in different stages of your research process. Three ways to implement a hybrid approach include:

  • Using a customer panel to generate ideas for new products or features, and then using dipstick testing to demo the most promising ones with a broader customer sample.
  • Using dipstick testing to explore customer needs and pain points and innovative market research to dig deeper into their emotional drivers and triggers.
  • Using innovative market research to measure customer reactions to existing offerings and a customer panel to follow up with more detailed questions and suggestions.

Maximising the benefits while managing the costs

Granted, using a combination of research methods can deliver richer, more comprehensive customer insights, but it can also increase your research costs and complexity. Unlike with Lego, you can optimise research without sacrificing a limb:

  1. Plan: Define your goals and questions clearly and prioritise the most important ones. Then, choose the best method for each question and align it with your budget and timeline.
  2. Be selective: Don’t try to use every method available or ask every question possible – you may scare your customers away. Focus on the most relevant and impactful ones.
  3. Flexibility: Be open to changing or adapting your research plan based on each method’s results. Learn from feedback and modify the next steps where necessary.
  4. Be creative: Don’t limit yourself to the conventional or familiar methods. Experiment with new customer data collection techniques and see what works best.

You don’t have to be a fan of Lego or research to get the insights you need. Chat with InteractRDT’s pros; we’ll help you create your desired structure.

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