Case Study 3 – “Motivation” Qualitative Research Among Applications Developers, and I/T Administrators in Key Global Markets

Business Needs

In order to compete effectively in a software market dominated by a competitor, a vendor of business infrastructure software required a strategy to win the "hearts and minds" of the competitors' customers. To this end, the marketing team needed to develop unique and compelling value propositions that truly resonate with a key audiences that ultimately impact software choice. We were tasked with aiding in the development of messages and positioning that would be expressed in the vocabulary of the influential Applications Developers and Infrastructure Administrators (DBAs). The messages and positioning needed to be based on value propositions that reflected the real needs, motivations, pressures, realities and desires of the target audience. The goal was to motivate this audience to seriously consider evaluating and purchasing the alternative offering

The Study

To explore and develop the necessary "hooks" to induce I/T Professionals to seriously consider an alternative solution, we conducted 120 in-depth personal interviews of about one hour's duration among qualified Developers and Administrators in channel organizations as well as in large and mid-sized companies in the US, Germany and China. In each interview, we made extensive use of our Motivation Research interviewing technique (a carefully structured form of "laddering".) Each interview was individually summarized and analyzed for content and structure. Results were then mapped for each distinct segment of respondents. Interviews were conducted by our team of specially trained executive moderators and interviewers experienced in the motivation interview technique. The goal of each interview was to "burrow below" the purely rational level, to see what non-rational and motivational benefits are sought by the respondent.

The motivational research interviewing technique is designed to uncover the true equity of a brand or product in the respondent's own words, providing a framework in which respondents relate their experiences, perceptions and motivations in a personal and organized way. Subsequent analyses reveal how respondents' thoughts and feelings about a brand are organized -- how they connect to one another.

The End Result

While the research confirmed that the dominating brand is a formidable competitor, we were able to specify unmet needs and opportunities to be used in penetrating the market, specifically identifying desirable product features, alternative pricing models and enhancements based on customer needs. In addition, weaknesses in the client's brand were identified and recommendations were made for a brand repositioning to engender a more robust competitive product that meets the underlying motivational needs across this target audience of technical professionals.