Consumer Insights

Whether we are talking with catalog shoppers, dog owners, stroller moms, church donors, DIYers, or investors, we strive for a maximum return on our client’s research dollars.

It’s a very exciting time to be in qualitative research with today’s technology providing opportunities for truly innovative research.   Activities such as journals, diaries or uploading photos/videos online  can provide much deeper “context” of a consumer’s lifestyle, behaviors, wants and needs.  Poking into closets and garages, reviewing problems with sprinkler system installations and going shopping with consumers, all provide rich in-the-moment insights well beyond what might be achieved within a focus group facility.  Diaries or journals can tap into insights from an entire family, providing important perspectives otherwise not realized.

Traditional focus groups continue to serve an important purpose, and we often find a “hybrid approach” (combining methodologies) brings the best depth of insight.

We also excel at “making up” approaches to take research to an entirely new level.  Pulling the client from out behind the glass, our Customer Immersion events provide a hands on richness to client learning.  When timing is crucial, Research to Brainstorming events bring the marketing team together for facilitated brainstorming using fresh, top of mind take aways immediately following focus groups.

The trend to conduct research with the customer in unique ways is very exciting and taps into the Thornhill Associates creativity, problem solving and extensive event planning expertise.

Check out the types of methodologies we use.


Homeowners:  In an effort to encourage water conservation, the leading Southern California water wholesaler hosted a “give away” of water efficient irrigation products.  Talking with homeowners to understand their installation experiences and product acceptance via focus groups elicited meaningful insights.  Heading out with the irrigation contractor to conduct “yard visits” where we got wet and dirty took the research to an entirely new level.  A spotlight was put on critical areas of deficiency and these findings were shared in a presentation to 26 water agencies.

Stroller moms:   A leading stroller manufacturer was looking to design the latest and greatest.  Moms were asked to complete a comprehensive Photo Journal sharing pictures of all the strollers they own with some strollers “in action”, a calendar of their usage, likes, dislikes, purchase information, and family lifestyle.  A treasure trove of information was compiled and brought into the dynamic focus group setting.  The ROI on this study encompassed a deep dive into a mom’s life with her stroller in addition to the valuable brainstorming of new concept development.

Catalog shoppers:  A catalog was acquired by our client and they wanted marketing and operations to immerse in the existing customer base.  Budget was limited and time was short.  A Research to Brainstorming event was designed.  Customers were recruited to complete a comprehensive Collage and Photo Journal providing a snapshot of their lives and much about their clothing preferences.  Focus groups were conducted with a very large, multi-discipline team observing.   Those observing had an assignment to capture specific “Hot Notes”.  Upon completion of the final focus group and over a pizza lunch, Thornhill Associates implemented a design to very quickly flip the Collage/Photo Journals, fresh focus group insights, and Hot Notes by engaging the team.  A rapid distillation of the key findings was conducted and marketing brainstorming ensued, allowing the team to immediately develop a first phase of action.