Here's a free idea for your research purpose

A friend asked me for a research idea.
He was so stupid that he couldn’t get out from common analysis projects.
His objective was to somehow find out how to increase sales.
The usual stuff all over again.
Dear marketers, come to me when you have a creative objective please.

So I came up with this idea:
find emergent purchase behavior from the idiots who purchased his products.

His product is a stupid, mediocre one with no clear benefit and a low level involvement.
People buy his product impulsively, no serious consideration at a low cost.
Fair enough.

You won’t aggravate over something that doesn’t cost you much, unless you’re obsessive with your purchase behavior
I would definitely ask why the hell do his company make such a product and hope that it would somehow sell.
Apparently, there are enough idiots in this land to have the company profit from selling mediocre items without any benefits.
I’m assuming that his company is not the only one doing it.
My assumption would probably be right, since he said there’s a big churn on the purchase of his product.
This is what interests me.

There’s a big churn for something insignificant.
From my perspective, it’s amazing that the product was somewhat successful;
 it’s even more amazing to know that people actually buy the stupid stuff periodically.
So the first questions I would want to address are:
Who the hell are these idiots who purchased the stupid stuff?
What other things they purchased along with the stupid stuff?
What other things that function like the stupid stuff?
What’s the relation between those stuff?
How much do people spend on those other things?
When do they buy such things?
Where do they buy such things?

From these questions, I’m pretty sure he could find out what product sets are closely related to his stupid stuff.
Are they, for instance, belong to the category of & stupid useless stuff people buy or maybe stuff that are sold in colorful packages?
I would be surprised if that stupid stuff belongs only in one category.
People assign multiple meanings to an object.
So there should be several categories that would be assigned to that stupid useless crap.
These categories could be compared to one another to see a trend.
For instance, people buy X along with Y and Z in the category of stupid useless cheap stuff to buy when A, B, and C, who are on the same category, are not on sale.
Stuff like that would be useful to know.
It shows that objects A, B, and C are what people want, but won’t afford.

He would also be able to know if the churn rates between those products tend to favor a product or another.
Maybe within the set A, B, and C, people tend to buy C for some reasons unknown.

The concept of Interchangeability is interesting.
It’s not a new concept, really.
We already know of complementary and substitute goods.
What’s important is how a product is relatively more preferred as a substitute than the other.
The more interchangeable a product set is, the likelier that the products in the set was purchased replacing one another.
From there, he could deduce which stuff that people are more dependent or reliant upon.
Maybe his product is more desirable, but people don’t depend much on it.
Or maybe what is dependent is not the product, but the product category.
This needs a test of its own.
Then there’s the decay rate too.
How long do a product set stays constant.
For instance, Set A that contains the products X, Y, Z, remains the same before someone put product Y that is interchangeable with A, on sale.
The general trend of the decay can be a good indicator of what people need and if there’s an outbreak in behavioral shift.

So basically, what I’m trying to propose is for my friend to monitor the purchase shifts and what might probably cause it.
The stupidest answer would be related to price levels, especially if the product was sold primarily for the low income group.

But price level might not explain everything.
There’s probably another set of answers to find out.
For instance, why do people who buy condom X also bought beers A, B, and C during the second and third week of the month?
Maybe it’s not the beer or the condom, but both.
They need alcohol consumption to ease getting laid, since they can’t afford to spend too much for sex.
Surely that could generate some ideas for marketing.
All in all, be creative in a research.
You don’t know what you will find.
Most of them are useless but some of them, when processed right, can be very useful for so many stuff.


I know I will regret this in the morning.

But, left one was made almost exactly two years ago. (Click it to see whole thing, I didn’t dare to arrange them so that it would take lot of room on dashes.) This was actually the first digital image I made of these babies. Back then I couldn’t get pen pressure to work in SAI and I just used vectors. I didn’t even know what a clipping layer was.

And well, right one was done just week ago for my thesis. (They do still have wings tho;;) I have learned to use SAI so much better. I have been surrounded by ridiculously talented people these years and this has made me challenge myself so much more just to reach their level of skill someday.

I still have a long way ahead of me, but at least I am making progress. Funny how at some point I thought that I wasn’t.