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Course Info

  • Course Number / Code:
  • 15.821 (Fall 2002) 
  • Course Title:
  • Listening to the Customer 
  • Course Level:
  • Graduate 
  • Offered by :
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
    Massachusetts, United States  
  • Department:
  • Sloan School of Management 
  • Course Instructor(s):
  • Prof. Drazen Prelec

  • Course Introduction:

  • 15.821 Listening to the Customer

    Fall 2002

    Course Highlights

    Several lecture notes, as well as detailed lists of readings and assignments, are available.

    Course Description

    The 15.821 + 15.822 Sequence

    Marketing research may be divided into methods that emphasize understanding “the customer” and methods that emphasize understanding “the market.” This course (15.821) deals with the customer and emphasizes qualitative methods (interviews, focus groups, Voice of the Customer, composing questions for a survey). The companion course (15.822) deals with the market and emphasizes quantitative methods (sampling, survey execution, quantitative data interpretation, conjoint analysis, factor analysis).

    The methods covered in 15.821 are often used in the “front-end” of market research project, whose second-stage is a quantitative survey. The quality of information gathered in the second-stage is greatly enhanced in this way.

    15.821 is designed for the nonspecialist, e.g., someone planning a career in general management, product or project management, R&D, advertising, or entrepreneurship. 15.822 teaches analytical techniques that are standard in consulting or marketing research, and is ideally suited for students planning careers in those fields.

    Objectives of 15.821

    This course has three complementary objectives, namely, to:

    • provide a concise “user’s guide” to the most valuable and common qualitative customer research methods (focus groups, customer visits, interviews)
    • teach key skills for “do-it-yourself” customer research (preparing & conducting interviews, group discussions, surveys, and site visits)
    • through a full-course project, teach all the basic steps of a Voice of the Customer exercise

    *Some translations represent previous versions of courses.


This course content is a redistribution of MIT Open Courses. Access to the course materials is free to all users.

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