(#9 May Surprise you)
How do you know when you need market research? That’s a good question. Here are some of the things that have raised our research antennae over the years. When you hear yourself or a coworker saying one of these utterances, chances are you need research. We nicknamed them for better recall. Recognize any?
1.“I wish we knew more about…”
This one is called the “Senior Executive Shuffle”. When questions arise, and embarrassingly, no answers appear. Research may be the quickest way to educate team members on a topic of interest.
2. “Our sales force tells us…”
“A.K.A. The Proxy“. The last thing salespeople want is anyone touching their customers. They nourish them. They protect them. They say, “We’ll let you know what our customers think”. (Not advised)
3. “If we make the wrong decision, it could really hurt us…”
The old “Bet-the-Company” wager. Millions could be riding on a wrong decision; perhaps an investment in research could help mitigate the situation (A Case for Bringing in Market Research Professionals).
4. “We know everything there is to know about…”
“The Know it All.” Sorry, nobody knows everything about anything. Change is fast and inevitable. Research can help you stay abreast of market-transforming events.
5. “I would certainly buy it, so I’m sure our customers will too…”
Ah, the “Self-Reliance Study.” You built it and you’re pretty sure they will come. Will they? What if they don’t? Research can help spot trouble.
6. “Our market research, which is only two years old, says…”
“The Ghost of Research Past.” Reliance on outdated research—especially during a global pandemic—is dangerous. Research can help ferret out new implications for your brand and products.
7. “My neighbor liked it!”
Yes, the good old “Neighbor Research”. The guy next door loved the concept over the barbecued T-Bone and beer you served him. He’s a sample size of one. He would buy it. But is he objective? Representative? Or just next door?
8. “Competitors? What competitors?”
We refer to this one as “Famous Last Words.” Your competitors could be more of a threat than you think. Research can help uncover competitive threats.
9. “We can do it ourselves and save some money!”
This one is called “The Fox Guarding the Chicken Coop” Sometimes you need to look outside the coop for objective feedback (What Type of Research Firm is Best for You? It’s a Matter of Taste).
10. “We need to fit as many features in this product as we can!”
We call this one “The Big Stuff”—for clients who typically want to stuff ten pounds of features into a five-pound bag. Many features may not be needed, adding cost and confusion to a product. Research can be used for feature prioritization.
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