Research Done Right Leads to a Happy Life

Nicole Dieker says that moving from Seattle to Cedar Rapids was “the best $5,929.10 I ever spent.

A little over a year after the move, my life is better in every appreciable way. I’m living in a beautiful apartment (no mold, no cockroaches, no roommates) with comfortable furniture that isn’t from Ikea and one of those fancy foam mattresses that you order off the internet. I have plants, and a piano that I actually have time to practice. I can meet my mom for lunch or go for bike rides with my dad. The public library and the art museum and the YMCA are all a few blocks away, as is the community center that hosts free movies and concerts while providing space for people to test their business ideas (cupcake shops, handcrafted jewelry) before taking out a full-fledged storefront.

The trend of millennials moving to mid-sized cities is fairly well established. We’ve seen the changing demographics in Pittsburgh (we even wrote a whole report about it) and the influx of young blood is changing the city in fascinating ways.

But among all the many reasons she gave for moving, the thing that stands out the most is her process.

The numbers are easy to crunch - there is no surprise that it will cost less to live in Cedar Rapids. The experience of the city is harder to realistically understand.

Because I wanted to make sure I was making the right choice for the right reasons, I spent a week at a Cedar Rapids Airbnb on a “site visit,” during which I rode the bike trails, watched Orchestra Iowa perform Beethoven’s Fifth, spent time with my parents, looked at various apartments, and decided to commit both to the move and to a lease. That trip accounted for $1,487.83 of the $5,929.10 total, but was a necessary component of the process; I wanted to base this decision on reality, not fantasy, which meant I had to get myself into the city and make sure it felt like the right place to go.

It was great research, the type of great research that we recommend for clients all the time. Although we’re not in the business of “where should you live” consulting, doing research to really understand what something feels like, what the emotions are when you’re in the place, or finding out how your perceptions match or don’t match reality are the foundations behind what we try to do for our clients everyday.

At Campos we often talk about how good CX planning can impact a business. Nicole has shown that the same type of planning is always a good idea in general.