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  • 00:04

    [RESEARCH METHODS][case study][Researching Customer Orientation & 3D Printing UsingDepth Interviews, Surveys & Archival Methods]

  • 00:14

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH: My name is Aric Rindfleisch.I'm a Professor of Marketing at the University of Illinoisin Urbana Champaign.I should say the Gies College of Businessat the University of Illinois.I've been doing this for a long time, over 20 years.I have a number of research interests.Currently, I'm really interested in 3D printing

  • 00:36

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: and how people create objects thatare digital that can be turned into physical things.[What are your current research projects?]I'm working on a project that really excites me now.Currently, we're calling this project customer orientation

  • 00:57

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: without the customer.So customer orientation is a very fundamental conceptof marketing.It's actually turning 30 years old next year.It emerged around 1990.And the basic idea was that firmsthat are more focused on the customerenjoy greater benefits in terms of higher loyalty and higher

  • 01:19

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: profitability.So what we're looking at is, of course, the factthat the world was a lot different in 1990.That was before Facebook, Google,before YouTube, really before the internet.And so we're looking at this older concept,this 30-year-old concept that was focused

  • 01:39

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: on a firm-based economy, and how this appliesto new organizational entities.So we're talking about, in this case,our concept is downloadable sharing platformsin which people upload, in this case,designs for objects that can be downloaded and 3D printed.And looking at the degree to which customer orientation,

  • 02:01

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: this well-known marketing concept,applies in this very different type of transactional context.[How did you formulate your research question?]Well, I've been interested in 3D printing for a long time.I got my first 3D printer nearly 10 years ago

  • 02:23

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: and have been making things and interacting with otherswho also engage in 3D printing.And realizing that what we're seeing hereis very different than the type of contentthat marketers typically study.So we became interested in understanding, really,this contextually-driven project,

  • 02:43

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: this new context in which people could upload--people like you and me-- could upload designs.And then other people like you and mecould download the designs without any firm involvedat all.And so that was sort of the originfor this particular project.[How did you plan & design the research project?]

  • 03:06

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: Well, we began the research-- and this researchhas, empirically, there's two different types of studies.So we began by simply talking to individualswho engage in this activity.So there is a very cool website, which most people have never heard of.It's like an Apple iTunes Store, except it doesn't have music.

  • 03:33

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: It has actual physical--I should say, well, digital filesthat can be downloaded and made physical.Instead of $0.99, it costs nothing.It's free to download.It has over a million designs.So we picked about the dozen individualswho are experienced in posting their designs on Thingiverseand did depth interviews.

  • 03:54

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: And after about five or six, we saw consistent themes.Our questions began with simply, tell us your 3D printing story.How did you get involved with 3D printing?How did you get involved in Thingiverse?And tell us about this design that you'veposted for sharing with other members of the community.So we drew some initial insights from that study,

  • 04:16

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: which led to a second study that has both a survey as wellas an archival component.[What research methods did you use?]Well, we have a variety of research methodsin terms of data collection.In the first study, it's simply a series of depth interviews.

  • 04:39

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: What we did there was, simply usingZoom for about one-hour video conversations,which were recorded and later transcribed.And then, we used a constant comparative methodfor analysis of that data collection to draw out themes.So I have a co-author, Greg Fisher.And I drew my themes, and Greg drew his themes.

  • 05:02

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: And then, we aggregated and discussed those themesand came out with a set of key processesthat occur, In this case, how these individuals whosimply create for themselves evolve to be customer-oriented.In the second study, we use a combination of a survey.We work with a different online sharing platform

  • 05:26

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: called my MyMiniFactory.We work closely with them.And they sent a survey that we designed to around 500 membersof the community.These are individuals who post designs, just like Thingiverse.We got nearly 200 responses to that.And we're asking questions about customer orientation,for example.And then, we were able to archivally take designs

  • 05:48

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: that these individuals have created and postedon MyMiniFactory and track archival measures like numberof likes for each design, number of downloads, for example.And so we're matching those two up.And then, simply running a regressionin which the items like customer orientation from the survey

  • 06:09

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: are the independent variables and these archival measures,like downloads and likes, are the dependent variables.[How did you analyze the data?]With the second study, we simply usedfairly standard regression analysis using SPSS.

  • 06:31

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: [What were your research findings & how did you presentthem?]The first set, our findings in our qualitative study,revealed that we had a set of individualswho created these digital designs without any interestin having them used by others.

  • 06:53

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: So there's no initial focus on the customer.And they go through a learning process.So it has three steps.The first step was simply learning how to make something.And so these are individuals who hadto learn a new software program to create these designs.The second step was learning how to share these designs.

  • 07:17

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: So in addition to creating them, they post them on this websiteand have to take photographs and provide a descriptionto tell others how to access and download them.And the third part was really learning about others.Because one thing that's common in many types of sharingplatforms, even Uber or Airbnb, for example,is the platform is a barrier.

  • 07:39

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: So this platform really works as a divider between the designersand the users.So Murray in Colorado with his square lipstick holderreally has no idea who else is in this communityor what their needs are.And they're only known once he posts his design.And others will post questions or contact him and say,

  • 07:60

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: for example, could you make it larger or smaller?And at that point, they develop some empathy and understandingof what others may need.Because these designs are designed solelyfor their own individual and idiosyncratic needs.So what we really find in our depth interviews and analysisis that there's a learning process where individuals first

  • 08:23

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: learn how to make.They learn how to share.And then, they simply learn about the community.And through that process, they become customer-oriented.[What tools & resources are helpful for a studentor researcher looking to do something similar?]

  • 08:43

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: Tools like Zoom are fabulous in termsof conducting depth interviews.Typically, depth interviews are conducted, ideally,face-to-face.You would normally want to do it in a person's natural context.So for example, if you're studying coffee shops,you want to be at the coffee shops.In this case, our designers were spread around the world.

  • 09:05

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: So Zoom was sort of the next best thing.What was really great about that,say, compared to a telephone interview,was it allowed the visuals.So for example, in our case, many of our designersnot only showed us their design.They showed us their entire 3D printing operation.As we went through their rooms--and almost everyone did this without being asked--they would show us something else they designed,

  • 09:26

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: which led to new and unexpected questions and discoveriesthat we never had imagined.So Zoom or Skype, or these video platforms, are next best thing.And very low-cost that even a student can do.It didn't cost us anything to do this.Zoom is free and accessible.Skype is free and accessible to everyone.And just took some time.And then, the other important element

  • 09:48

    ARIC RINDFLEISCH [continued]: is to be open to new discoveries.Because we came in with a certain sense of understandingand questions.But we learned so much that was unexpectedfrom this open-mindedness of discovering new possibilities.So that would be my advice to students.

Video Info

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Publication Year: 2020

Video Type:Video Case

Methods: In-depth interviews, Qualitative data collection, Survey research, Archival research, Methodology, Research design

Keywords: customer orientation; recording; regression analysis; Software; Survey methods; technology (new media); transcription ... Show More

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Aric Rindfleisch, a Professor of Marketing at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign, discusses his project pertaining to customer orientation in the realm of downloadable designs for 3D-printed objects.

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Researching Customer Orientation & 3D Printing Using Depth Interviews, Surveys & Archival Methods

Aric Rindfleisch, a Professor of Marketing at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign, discusses his project pertaining to customer orientation in the realm of downloadable designs for 3D-printed objects.

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