Why You Can’t Rely Solely on Market Research

Friday 12 July 2013 | Danielle Pacelli

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When presented with a request to conduct market research, the late great Steve Jobs responded, “No, because customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them.” While many might argue that market research is a must when starting up, or launching a new product or service, others have more of a Steve Jobs perspective on the situation. Regardless of how you feel, it’s important to know when to say, “Enough is enough,” with market research and decide to either take a leap of faith or a step backward.

As Steve Jobs stated, your target audience might not know what they want. It isn’t until they’ve actually been made aware of the issue and introduced to your product or service that they realize how revolutionary it is. Think about the first iPhone – no one knew they needed their iPod to merge with their cell phone. Many great and innovative ideas have been born by taking a risk and throwing something that someone is passionate about into the market, and then making changes and decisions once results are seen.

Market research is also often misleading and inconclusive. When consumers are approached with an innovative idea, it is often difficult for them to imagine. It isn’t until they have something tangible to experience that they understand. For example, the initial reaction to the iPad was negative due to its lack of USB port and multi-tasking capabilities. Once consumers actually got their hands on iPads, however, they were completely enamored with the product.

When companies conduct market research, they often make errors when it comes to strategy. It’s not uncommon for them to ask the wrong questions, conduct the research in an ineffective manner, or put too much emphasis on the responses they get from one question. In these cases, time and resources are wasted, and educated decisions aren’t made.

As with most things in life, there has to be a balance with market research. You might want to feel out the market a bit and try to predict where your company, product or service would fit in, but there is only so much you can figure out without actually launching. So, in the end, follow your instincts and let your passion guide your decision!

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What are your feelings about market research – is it a must or a minor detail? Tell us how important you think it is in the comments below, or tweet us @MycroBurst!


    Celebrity Holmes

    This skill becomes even more relevant when you consider the huge quantities of information available today: market research, user research, Web analytics, and more.You can’t do normal market research with our customers. You’ve got to create an environment that makes it attractive for them to attend.

    Laura Seitz

    For market research to be meaningful and effective, it’s critical to work with a market research expert to identify your objectives and design the methodology that will work best in your situation. It’s important to have realistic expectations of what can be learned, and also important to have the market research expert help interpret the results. Well-designed and interpreted market research is a must. Throwing together a focus group to ask a few questions is BS.


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