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Next Principles Product Strategy

Next Principles August - September 2012

The Summary:

As a technology start-up with a novel Social CRM offering, NextPrinciples needed to better understand the evolving role of social analytics within enterprise companies, the who/when/where/why of leveraging the data, and the resulting key challenges and opportunities. The research findings were therefore intended to uncover novel insights in order to create unique innovations for their enterprise product

The Issues:

With a 3-week timeframe to scope, execute, and deliver on findings, the challenge was to develop a reasonable research framework that would focus discovery while still covering as much ground as possible. 

We focused first on reframing and co-creating the research direction in a stakeholder workshop. We generated personas of target populations, prioritized them, and identified a baseline of topic categories to explore their needs. This work drove the recruiting and the content for both a survey and a round of qualitative interviews. 

Methods Applied:


Stakeholder Workshop

Segmentation Survey

Qualitative Interviews

Synthesis Workshop and Debrief

Primary Role:



Research Consulting Lead, co-guiding and co-facilitating all project phases.


  • Co-Lead Research Consultant

  • Founder and CEO

  • Head of Product Management

  • Head of Engineering

  • Head of Operations


Insightful survey data highlighting the competitive tool landscape and patterns across role and company size/vertical. A set of informed perspectives, themes, and market trends around the business of social media from qualitative interviews.  Product strategy recommendations which were strongly considered. A freshly engaged executive team with the necessary material to discuss the potential roads forward.

Research Details

Workshop - Survey - Interviews + Affinity Clustering

1 Workshop to clarify and prioritize research questions
Engage stakeholders in a workshop to understand their view of the problem space, define study topics and primary users, and agree on scope
Workshop activities gave stakeholders a place to start for sharing their mental models and domain vocabulary.  We documented what market needs NextPrinciples has already addressed while also capturing concerns and issues across a wide variety of topics. With ample contribution to the problem space, we were better able to illustrate potential users and their organizational roles. The personas and discussion topics resulting from this work were prioritized in order to scope the subsequent research activities. 
Defining the problem space with stakeholders
Part of the problem space sticky board
Generating relevant persona content
2 Survey of target users
Gather additional numbers around company behaviors with social media data with a segmentation survey. 
We distributed this survey through our personal networks as well as an announcement on various professional forums and LinkedIn groups. Our goal was to better understand who interacts with social media data in their organizations, how they interact with it (e.g. analysis, consumption), what tools they use, what metrics they track (beyond vanity), and how behavior might differ across company size and industry vertical.
3Contextual and remote target user interviews
Conduct qualitative interviews to deep dive on topics identified in both the stakeholder workshop and survey results. 
A range of professionals interacting with social media data, metadata, and analytics at different levels of the organization were interviewed based on their location, time availability, and capacity to host at their place of work. For example, we found ourselves at the 2012 headquarters of the Obama reelection campaign, an executive's office at Apple HQ, and on the phone with a social media consultant and thought leader based in Melbourne, Australia.
11 professionals in total were interviewed from 1 to 2 hours each. 
2012 Obama Field Office Site Visit
4Synthesis and Recommendations
Distill findings and recommendations for a final report through storytelling and affinity diagramming with my research co-lead. 
'Quick and Dirty Affinity Diagramming' via Whiteboard

© 2017 by Peter Roessler.

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