Market Immersion Challenge

“Not all who wander are lost”– J.R.R Tolkien

We live in super exciting times – where the pace of change is only increasing exponentially. For organizations – it is an opportunity and it is a challenge. Or as Charles Dickens would have put it, “It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.”

One of the biggest challenges for organizations is the ability to understand the constantly evolving nature of their customers. Understanding the different customer personas and getting to the heart of why they do what they do is often the difference between success and failure for many organizations.

What if we get teams to attack this problem for their organizations? Can we make immersion with their own consumers a fun, gamified experience? We think so!

Unlike many of our other offerings, the Market Immersion Challenge is one that calls for a lot of pre-work with our clients, for us to make it meaningful for the participants. Afterall, to get a deep understanding and comprehension of peoples’ needs and motivations, we need to get close to the right set of people – in their natural environments: their homes, their businesses, on the streets, at places where they eat, shop or socialize. So two questions we seek answers for at this stage are:
⦁ Who are your customer personas?
⦁ What do we want to know through the market immersion? (And Why?)

Once this is done, comes the D-Day. Before we immerse, we need to do a reality check. What we think we know often stops us from knowing what we need to learn. To shine the light on this gap, the FocusU team ties up with a few real customers who are brought into the venue. Through a fun activity that we call the “Hot Seat”, we first get team members to answer a list of questions “as if” they were the customer persona chosen. Once done, to the mild surprise of participants, we run the same questions past the “real consumers.” The oohs, aahs and laughter in the session tells us that we have a better enlightened group now – ready to go for the field immersion.

All the logistics of taking people in smaller groups to interact with their chosen customer personas (identified and tied up earlier) is done by our team. This is the heart of the immersion process. To listen, watch, talk and probe the real people who matter – the consumers (or potential consumers). We also nudge participants on what to look for and how:
⦁ The usual suspects, things under the surface and the edge cases!
⦁ What people say versus what people do!
⦁ The inconsistencies… asking Why?
⦁ Creating a safe space for people to relax
⦁ Enjoying the silences

When we get back from the field immersion – it is time to connect the dots. Through an iterative process of funneling, brainstorming and sharing we try to nail down some insights:
⦁ What information did we gather?
⦁ What behavior did we observe?
⦁ How would we possibly explain that?
⦁ What insight lies at the heart of this?

The Market Immersion Challenge as laid out here can be modified to be done in different versions and variants, depending on the time available with the team and the key objective of the engagement. Here are three different case studies of the same:
Understanding the lives of our consumers at the bottom of the pyramid
Understanding how the products of the company make a difference in people’s lives
Mentoring leaders using an immersive experience in the environment

A few key parameters:

Is this workshop right for my team?
The Market Immersion Challenge is a very bespoke challenge that can be run only when the organization sees the value of their employees engaging with their customers in such a way. It takes a lot of time, planning and close co-ordination between us and the organization. While it is extremely meaningful for participants who have been through it, if budget is a constraint – this should be parked for another day.

A few take-aways for participants and the organization are:
⦁ Getting deep understanding and insights about their own customers
⦁ A sense of pride and achievement for participants
⦁ A stronger sense of engagement with the organization and their work

If you are looking at landing a similar message with your team, FocusU invites you to explore The Market Immersion Challenge!

Contact Us today - we will be glad to meet up and discuss the possibilities for your team!