Date of publication: September 1, 1995


Many information technology companies use marketing research as a reality check during product design and testing: research is used to evaluate the products, ascertain user/customer judgments, and the viability of user/customer interfaces. Hewlett-Packard firmly believes that it is important also for the user/customer to be involved during the conceptual stages of new product design. The home information technology market is rapidly gaining in size and importance. We had determined that, although we had a good interpretation of the business user market, we had a less clear idea of home market needs. This paper focuses on the implementation of one particular method of information technology marketing research targeted to determine unstated needs within the family. We call this research method Day-in-the-Life visits. The paper goes step-by-step through Day-in-the-Life visits as we have implemented them. In addition to the preparation and wind-up phases, we describe the four major phases during a Day-in-the-Life visit. We call these: "Building Trust"; "Show Time"; "Ask Any Question"; and "Team Debrief. No data is presented. The focus is, instead, on what worked and what did not work. We discovered in carrying out the research in the three different countries that there were few real cultural differences. Lessons learned in one country worked, more often than not, in the other two.

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