The New Moment is “In-The-Moment”

IRG taking pictures

A common end goal of market research is to identify how a company can influence a consumer to purchase their product or service by understanding and filling a specific consumer need. Often times you can gather these insights by asking consumers how they feel about something, but other times you may want to actually see it so you have a deeper understanding of how they derived their answer. This is where our qualitative consumer journey studies come in – A.K.A getting “in-the-moment” with consumers.

**Full disclosure: These types of studies have been some of my absolute favorite that we have conducted!**

What the Journey Entails

When we think about a consumer journey we think about a broad range of topics, from understanding consumers’ path-to-purchase, (such as sending people to a specific store) to exploring how they perform an everyday activity (such as loading or unloading a dishwasher) to better understand how a process is being performed or a product used.

Below are a few images and verbatims that were collected after we ran an internal study to follow a consumer’s eating habits over two days in order to gauge how satisfying meals were and what opportunities were there to make breakfast, lunch, or dinner more satisfying.


This was my breakfast this morning: steel cut oats with sliced almonds, a banana, and a cup of coffee. I ate it around 7.00 just before getting the kids up for school. I made the oats but not this morning, as steel cut oats tend to take a while to cook. I usually make enough for a few days (it keeps well in the fridge) and reheat portions over a couple days. I eat bananas daily for some quick energy. And I consider a cup of coffee part of my daily ritual and kind of a treat.

Female, 38, NJ, Married

I ate dinner at about 5:30 today at home. On Friday nights we have a treat and either eat out or have take out of some sort. Tonight my children chose to have McDonald’s, which my husband picked up on his way home from work. I had a Daily Double burger and a small order of fries. Not a healthful meal, but it is fun to splurge at least once a week! If I was trying to make it a more healthful choice I would have opted for a side salad instead of fries, but that would defeat the purpose of having a little splurge for me.  🙂

Female, 37, IN, Married

Running again today so I had to be quick again. Wanted something that had some nutrition to it so I grabbed another carnation breakfast drink and some Dole Tropical Fruit. Was picked up at Shaw’s again (local supermarket chain here in New England) and eaten at home. Was looking for speed and convenience again as well, definitely fit the bill.  Was about 8 AM when I ate. I was looking for quick and light with some redeeming value — didn’t want to grab a handful of donuts. I figured I got some nutritional value with the fruit and breakfast drink. I checked off all the boxes so in this case I would do it again.

Male, 46, Never Married

How to Apply These Tactics to Your Research

Over time, we have created our own best practices in order to pull out the most insightful responses from consumers. These include:

  • Conduct qualitative studies around 20-30 minutes per day in order to maximize response and minimize respondent fatigue
  • Set expectations of what is needed from respondents prior to the study start
  • Make sure to structure and order questions to negate any bias
  • Studies should be conducted branded, blinded or a mix of both
  • Introduces activities and assignments in an engaging and fun way – we all love fun!
  • Use exercises that evoke an emotional response (i.e. image uploads, metaphorical internet image uploads, sentence completion, drawing activities, projecting techniques, etc.)

Wrapping up the Journey

With the increase of use and inundation of technology, being “in-the-moment” with a consumer is becoming critical throughout the research process. GutCheck’s ability to use our Instant Research Groups to understand the consumer journey allows us to quickly bring consumer insights to life. And the coolest part is that the speed and flexibility of our process allows for our clients to gain direction from target consumers in just a few days!

Dying to learn more? Learn how in-the-moment shopper insights gave a leading cosmetics brand a new direction at a popular global retailer in our downloadable case study!

Download Case Study