By Margit Fotre & John Ferguson

The Water Quality Association has published the result of a precisely defined, groundbreaking consumer survey specifically targeting the POU/POE industry.

The 2004 National Consumer Water Quality—Research Summary features comprehensive data regarding the perceptions and use of water purification technologies by consumers in the residential, commercial and industrial marketplaces. It also answers key questions about the industry vital for any dealer, distributor and manufacturer in the United States, including:

  • What do consumers think about the water they drink and the water they use?
  • What is the consumer’s “hot button” to pique their interest to buy?
  • What marketing message would help you increase your sales?
  • What makes consumers purchase a home drinking water unit vs. bottled water delivery vs. drinking water from the tap?
  • Who is most likely to buy a water softener?

The survey results show that residential consumers across-the-board are interested in POU/POE filtration systems for their homes, but typically have very little knowledge about the potential contaminants in their drinking water or their municipal water source.

By utilizing the most effective methods for approaching these types of customers—those outlined in the research summary—dealers can increase their sales and hone their marketing efforts in a host of ways.

Multiple survey techniques were used in the exhaustive research including focus groups with household decision makers, in-depth, face-to-face interviews with rural well water consumers, as well as telephone surveys to quantify information gathered in focus groups. The survey breaks out responses from men and women, new home purchasers, urban and suburban families in Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic and other ethic perspectives to provide a broad overview of all key market targets.

“I think the WQA National Consumer Research Survey is a huge benefit to members for several reasons,” says Aquion Water Products president Robert Ruhstorfer. “For example, while companies my size have always had access to this kind of information, by participating in an industry-sponsored survey, we can get solid basic consumer data for a fraction of the cost of doing it ourselves. We can then use the money we saved to drill down further with follow-on surveys.”

The results of the survey are available in two forms:

Level 1—Complete data set
This level is a must for dealers, manufacturers and marketing specialists. It includes all the research data, an executive summary, and the full report of the findings and an analysis of the date written by professionals from Applied Research Inc. (ARI), a marketing firm central to the production of the survey.

In addition, all the statistical data will be included for your own analysis, both in hard copy and digitally on CD-ROM for easier manipulation. Level 1 is $9,500 for WQA members, $17,000 for nonmembers.

Level 2—Report
This option includes a complete, comprehensive report including an executive summary, a full report of the findings and an analysis of the data written by ARI. Level 2 is $4,500 for WQA members, $8,500 for nonmembers.

Workshop
WQA will be conducting a Consumer Research Study Workshop at the WQA Aquatech USA 2005 show in Las Vegas, Nev., during the week of March 29 – April 2, 2005. The workshop is included with your paid registration.

About the author
Margit Fotre is the director of membership and marketing for the Water Quality Association; John Ferguson is the WQA executive editor/communications. For additional information regarding the WQA, write to 4151 Naperville Road, Lisle, IL 60532-3696, or visit www.wqa.org. Phone: 630 505 0160. Fax: 630 505 9637. Email: info@mail.wqa.org

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