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Understanding customer perceptions: Part 1

eunice

Eunice Hogeveen, MIS; Co-Founder & Partner of Innerviews Inc.

SLA’s Consulting Section of the Leadership & Management Development Division is incredibly fortunate that Eunice Hogeveen will be talking with them at the June 15th/15 Breakfast Meeting (8:00 a.m. @ Boston’s Convention Ctr Rm 252A). If you don’t have a ticket – get one. Every information professional needs to spend some time with Eunice. I’ve been lucky to know Eunice – and even luckier to have worked with her – for almost 30 years. Eunice introduced me to market segmentation; process mapping; storyboarding to test service concepts; and various ways of gaining a deep understanding of client’s information-related behaviours, preferences and applications.  She’s a librarian who has been a senior manager in e-content publishing, and is co-founder and partner of a niche market research & business strategy firm focusing on Fortune 500 organizations. I continue to learn from her — about customer perceptions and beliefs, about managing a business, about thinking differently and strategically.  This is the first of 2 blog posts about Eunice and the firm she co-leads, Innerviews Inc., and why information professionals need to take notice. 

Me: Eunice, I met you when you were a solo librarian in a corporate library in the early 1980’s. How did you move from that career to metaphor research and business strategy?

Eunice: After receiving an MLS, my career journey began in special libraries at the Board of Trade and a major accounting and consulting firm.   The era of content databases was just emerging and I had an opportunity in sales, marketing and product development for a major Canadian newspaper publisher.   I started in the selling of privately owned databases and then moved into the digitization of newspapers and other business content.   As Director of Electronic Publishing,  I had responsibility for product planning, development and taking product to market.    It was in the process of developing and marketing ‘brand new to the world’ products that a deep interest arose to better understand consumer minds.   How do you frame these new products?  How do you connect emotionally?    It was later in a major consulting assignment with Thomson Reuters on their transformation from a print to a digital world where I meet a client who would become my future business partner.

Me: I’m fascinated with the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique, & I remember when you went to Harvard to learn the technique. How did you get into this technique – and into Innerviews?

Eunice: In this world where such a large percentage of new products fail,   we shared a desire to push beyond the limit of what is often done in research.   We met  Gerald Zaltman of the Harvard Business School and were trained in his groundbreaking Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique.  In the 1990s as more was understood about the brain,  it was established that human decision-making is only 10-15% rational and that 85-90% of decision-making is actually emotional.     Research that stays only in the rational space is thus inherently limited.     Exploring the metaphors or frames that people have is a way to penetrate below the iceberg and into the 85-90% of the subconscious brain which is so essential to decision-making.   It is so much more important to understand ‘how’ your customer thinks, than ‘what’ your customer thinks.

It was as licensees and practitioners of the technique that we launched InnerViews.   For fifteen years,  InnerViews has helped clients build their business by revealing the inner view of how their customers think. We are now licensees of Meta4 Insight, an online platform that enhances the speed and breadth of going deep into the subconsciously held thoughts and feelings.   I would describe myself as a metaphor research consultant and marketing strategist with a personal appetite for discovery.

Next Blog Post: Understanding customer perceptions: Part 2 – what can information professionals learn from this technique?

 

 

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