Disruption, with all of the chaos that the word implies, is generally seen as a good thing if you’re the one causing it. However, marketing a disruptive product comes with a variety of its own hurdles and the ways in which companies overcome these barriers to reach consumers can make or break a product.

Drinkworks, a joint venture between Anheuser-Busch InBev and Keurig, had just launched its own disruptive new product, a single-serving cocktail maker called the Drinkworks Home Bar. The product was available for purchase in five brick-and-mortar stores all located in St. Louis. In preparation for a move into additional expansion markets and ultimately a national launch, Drinkworks wanted to optimize its product and marketing strategy – but in order to do this it needed to understand which aspects of its current strategy were working well and which were not. 

To accomplish this, the company partnered with AMC Global, a research firm with experience helping launch products. It was critical to Drinkworks that insights were gathered from actual purchasers of the new product, but with very few units in market, the company knew this would be an incredibly challenging task. Drinkworks knew that it wanted to design a research process that enabled the consumer to drive decision-making. In fact, one of the “Five Principles” of Drinkworks is to make the user the hero, so this involvement was crucial. With this in mind, the company planned to use a test-and-learn approach to gather insights and improve its product.

The research plan began with AMC Global’s PFU (purchaser follow-up) methodology, which gave the companies a way to recruit a robust sample of new product purchasers immediately after launch and understand their experiences with the product over time. Using a variety of quantitative and qualitative methodologies, the companies conducted research to better understand the purchaser/user perspective and ...