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How Medline Conducted Pivotal Product Research on a Scrappy Budget

Medline needed to find out why their product wasn't selling. The only problem: A tight budget.

Medline provides vital supplies and solutions to healthcare facilities all across North America. And since 1910 when they began as a garment factory in Chicago’s South Side stockyards, they’ve established themselves as an indispensable provider and distributor of medical products to scores of hospitals.

It was only recently, though, that they decided to offer supplies directly to individuals—accelerating partnerships with consumer retailers in food, drug, mass, and e-commerce, while continuing to serve hospitals and institutional channels.

To help meet those challenges, Medline and Vicky Mostovoy, Medline’s Director of Consumer Insights and Analytics, turned to dscout.

The Problem

Medline had just released a new therapeutic lotion called Remedy that wasn’t selling the way they wanted it to — despite the fact that they were sure they had nailed most aspects about the product.

“We had done packaging testing and concept testing, but the launch was not what we hoped it would be,” explains Vicky. “But the sales were soft so we had many questions.”

Vicky needed to conduct an in-depth qualitative study of Medline’s target users. That meant traveling, recruiting users, and testing hypotheses.

The catch? The research budget was lean. And stakeholders didn’t see the value of investing more into the project than they needed to.

The Solution

Ultimately, the decision to use dscout stemmed from a number of factors. For one, it allowed them to work within the confines of their budget. It also offered them to conduct the project with the nimbleness they wanted.

dscout also allowed them to explore the regional impacts of their adverse sales data as well. For example, colder regions where people’s skin were more dry might see greater interest in the lotion than a warmer, more humid region.

The budget was set for under $10,000. Luckily, dscout allowed Vicky to stay well under her budget — which was a relief considering how many research project budgets can stretch well into the upper five figure range.

"dscout’s cost was really appealing to a lot of people. I think we did it all for around $7,000 including participant incentives. Compared to the costs of other research methods, I estimate that Medline saved $50,000 or more by working with dscout."

Vicky Mostovoy
Medline Director of Consumer Insights and Analytics

The Impact

In the end, dscout allowed Vicky and dscout to conduct speedy research with the amount of recruits they needed while remaining under budget.

More than that, Vicky realized that this type of research can be a way to include qual in every proposal, helping her win over stakeholders as well as folks who might be new to insights as a whole.

“People really loved it because the consumer videos really brought to life what we thought was the case,” Vicky describes. “It took us out of our heads because it's not us saying these things. We’re hearing the consumer say them.”

She continues: “There's no reason in this day and age to not have the holistic picture. You can do it on a really scrappy budget in a really short amount of time. And plus with the tech forward platforms that people have that research partners offer today, you can do it with a team very easily too, so that it's not falling all on the shoulders of one person. I know research teams are very lean. So having that collaborative piece also helps a great deal with selling.”

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