Customized Product Design Research Reduces Guess Work


A national plumbing manufacturer was looking for a third-party research company to assist them with getting feedback from the market on various products designs that would not only meet the market’s needs, but would provide the company with the most business opportunity. The client requested the research include a balance of response from architects, interior designers and engineers. In addition, the research should contain national feedback with a balance of professionals doing business in their various  sales regions.

Since product design research is typically highly confidential, the manufacturer did not want the research to be identified with the company. In addition, they did not want to bias the research to designs they “prefer” internally. The main objectives of the research were to:

1) identify the top three preferred product designs out of ten provided by the client.
2) provided feedback on what they like or dislike about the designs.
3) determine what existing product designs they most preferred and why.
4) Lastly to determine which design offered the most potential business.


Using Accountability Information Management, Inc. (AIM) years of experience assisting companies with product development and their established relationships with design and engineer professionals, AIM was able to structure a research program to help achieve the client’s objectives quickly and efficiently.  Since the research was time sensitive and required confidentiality, AIM was able to utilize their in-house staff of professionals to design, program, implement and summarize the research. In addition, AIM used its proprietary lists of design professionals to ensure sufficient and qualified response.

To meet the project goals and turn-around time required, AIM designed a customized online survey. The survey gathered specific demographic data and presented key questions to ultimately assist the client evaluate the potential business opportunity. To avoid respondent fatigue, AIM presented two groups of randomized designs and asked respondents to rank their top three designs. After the first two sets, the respondents were shown their top six design choices and asked to select their final top three. Once their top three designs where captured, respondents were asked to provide open-ended feedback on their top choices explaining what they liked and didn’t like about the design. To boost and encourage early response, AIM recommended the research also include a small incentive.


AIM was able to complete the research in less than a month with over 200 surveys completed and a response rate of over 10%. The response was balanced both nationally and among the design groups and influencers established by the client. In addition, the research provided the client with specific product design recommendations and suggestions from the market. To assist with measuring the product potential, AIM utilized secondary market information and the data from the research to provide the client with specific analysis on the business opportunity each of the top three designs could provide.

For more information or research assistance email or call 847-358-8558.