When we hear the word “Market research,” the first thing which hits our mind is the survey which the company undertakes to evaluate the performance of their products in the market. But how many of us actually know about the market research as a major tool of innovation? Not me at least. Yes, market research in combination with technology can create a powerful platform for innovation, an innovation which is beneficial to the customer in many ways.  One such company which has used market research coupled with technology from creating a new product to delivering and improving it continuously is NEST LABS.

Emillia Plotka, policy Officer at Royal Institute of British Architects stated, “Access to energy consumption data at a larger scale could help identify energy-use hotspots and point to areas that could benefit from community energy or retrofitting schemes.”, a more need for innovation and creativity to build smarter homes and intelligent devices that can contribute to sustainability. “NEST LABS,” a company which specializes in automating the home by reinventing the several unloved products of the home. It designs and manufactures programmable, self-learning, sensor-driven, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, smoke detectors, and other security systems. Nest has worked extensively on defining and understanding how people interact with the products at their home So that it can deliver the superior customer experience. The Company’s first product is “Nest Learning Thermostat”, which optimizes heating and cooling of homes to conserve energy. It is based on a machine learning algorithm: for the first two weeks, users have to regulate the thermostat in order to provide the reference data set. Nest then learns people’s schedules, at which temperature they are used to and when. Using built-in sensors and phones’ location it can shift into energy saving mode when it realizes nobody is at home. This contributed to almost 1 billion kWh of energy saving.


To understand the user experience of intelligent and adaptive home technology such as Nest devices, the company has undertaken one of the quantitative research methods to build understanding about Nest’s market and to evaluate its impact to save energy and build smart, user-friendly home appliances. It has undertaken the exploratory study by taking the five quality criteria for a web-based survey of survey design; sampling; selected participants; participant privacy; and confidentiality it was able to access the information from a large number of people.


To evaluate Nest learning thermostat performance to save energy before and after installation depended on MyEnergy tool which allowed consumers to monitor energy usage on the monthly and yearly basis by signing up for the tool. Then an email survey is undertaken to compare the energy consumption between those who use MyEnergy tool and those who did not to identify energy-use hotspots.


The implementation of both surveys contributed to collect information about how innovative products such as Nest Learning Thermostat can be used by both customers and potential customers in order to improve the product design and function to meet the consumer expectations. Formatting the questions to target different segments of Nest customers and non-customers contributes building insight about the market either before the development phase or to improve the product for better user experience and energy saving.

This product was a huge success, and in order to understand its critical success factors company has undertaken Google Consumer Surveys for its marketing research with its performance. These Surveys questioned on their products’ functioning and measures for improvement, which allowed the customer to give their feedback on Nest’s services and products. This fetched opportunities for  Nest to quickly gain information from people on what they want and build the products according to it. One such Survey is “How high is your Ceiling?” which would help them in identifying the product fit in their home.

By incorporating this feedback that Nest is receiving by using online marketing research, Nest is able to improve the products and as a result has come two more innovative products namely Nest Protect and Nest Cam which were too great success thanks to Nest’s Innovation edge.


  • Iacobucci, D. (2014) Marketing Management (MM), 4th Edition, South-Western, Cenage Learning, Mason, Chapter 15, Marketing Research Tools.
  • Nunan, D. and Di Domenico (2013) Market research and the ethics of big dataInternational Journal of Market Research, 55 (4), 2-13.



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    • Nest’s marketing research included questions about how their current products are functioning and what needs to be done to improve them.In case of “NEST Protect”, a device that can substitute for ordinary smoke alarms was initially lacking human-centered design guidelines, has been redesigned according to the feedback from their Marketing research to be more user-frindly to communicate with the Nest Thermostat to shut down possible sources of Carbon Monoxide poisoning, helping in saving lives of the people.
      They have innovated a device which can think on its own in regards to its functioning.


      • That was a nice explanation manasa. Can you tell me more about ” How high is your ceiling” survey of NEST. In a way that how and why was this survey undertaken .


      • As I explained in my blog,”How high is your ceiling”, survey is all about identifying and understanding the product fit in the customer’s home ie., having the idea of the home’s ceiling will give NEST the idea by which they can decide on how large to make a certain appliance to fit into their homes.


      • Thanks for reply manasa. So here NEST has used marketing research for product design too along with innovation. Good strategy from NEST.


      • Yes, a strategy that worked well in their case. Having the feedback directly from the consumer has helped them understand the market need better and design the products according to it.


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