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General Mill's Exploratory Research

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General Mills did exploratory research to search for ideas about why Hamburger Helper didn’t fare too well with consumers when introduced. Initial instructions called for cooking a half pound of hamburger separately from the noodles or potatoes, which were later mixed with the hamburger. Individual interviews (a single researcher asking questions of one respondent) showed that consumers (1) didn’t think it contained enough meat and (2) didn’t want the hassle of cooking in two different pots. So the Hamburger Helper product manager changed the recipe to call for a full pound of meat and to allow users to prepare it in one dish; this converted a potential failure into a success.

Companies can learn from this example. Questionnaire data are facts and figures obtained by asking people about their attitudes, awareness, intentions, and behaviors. Because so many questions might be asked in questionnaires, it is essential that the researcher concentrate on those directly related to the marketing problem being studied and potential marketing actions that might result.

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YouSigma. (2008). "General Mill's Exploratory Research." From http://www.yousigma.com.

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