Monsanto, the makers of Roundup, had developed a new formulation and applicator. This was designed to enable gardeners to apply weed killer more accurately than is possible with a spray. The idea was that gardeners can use it on individual weeds which are growing in among flowers, vegetables or other plants, which would be difficult to kill with a spray.
Monsanto wanted to test the usability of the new applicator and its appeal to gardeners. They would then use the feedback from the customer research to develop marketing communications.
There were 30 Monsanto customers, who accepted an email invitation to take part in the research. The research took the form of a 7 day product test, followed by online depth interviews. We ran these interviews over 3-4 days.
Monsanto sent the product to the participants, and we then ran the research. We contacted the participants each day by email. This was to check whether they had used the weedkiller. We asked those who had done so to fill out a diary entry about how, when and where they had used it.
Following this we ran the online depth interviews. During these we asked participants about specific aspects of the product and ideas for marketing communications.
The research highlighted a number of usability issues around the product, and provided some suggested improvements. It also enabled a detailed picture of the various ways in which gardeners used the product. This contributed towards the development of marketing communications.
Gary Philpotts, UK Business Director for Lawn & Garden at Monsanto, who commissioned the project said:
“This research was quick, cost-effective and very useful. It was the first time we have used online, rather than face to face, group research, and we will definitely use this approach again”.