From the July, 10 2019 Knoxville News-Sentinel
Market research is an integral step in a successful business development effort, whether you are part of a startup, launching a new product or rebranding your business.
When you skip out on market research, you miss valuable opportunities that will help your business in the long run. Successful business owners know their markets, understand their competitors’ and customers’ wants and needs, and gather all the information necessary for their businesses to be competitive. They know why people buy their products and services, not just when or where. Neglecting to do market research can result in indecision and inaction, fear of risk or the truth, and/or too many options, which can lead to paralysis.
Not every product is for every person. When launching a new product, effective market research will help you narrow down your true market potential and your most likely customers. The more specific your survey questions are, the better you will be able to position your new product or service for sales success.
Timing of new product introductions is also critical. When a business waits too long to take advantage of a marketplace opportunity, it can lead to missing out on the opportunity altogether. Trends and consumer needs are ever-changing, and when a business is indecisive because of lack of knowledge about audience preferences, you may miss the boat.
Sometimes businesses skip the market research step because they simply do not know what to look for or they don’t know what’s missing from their thought process. Having a list of burning questions that you want or need answers to is a good starting point instead of blindly researching your industry with the hope of stumbling across something useful.
Here are some classic cases of products that failed due to lack of market research:
These examples demonstrate that solid market research can make or break a new product release or a new initiative. Companies like Apple utilize their “Apple Customer Pulse” research to gather customer feedback via online surveys that allow it to adjust software features before new product introductions.
Another example of effectively gathering customer insight comes from Wayfair. It created an app that allows customers to take photos of furniture and home items they see and like in their daily lives. Wayfair then shows them similar products on its website that it manufactures and sells. This app not only allows customers to find products they like (and buy them!), but it also guides Wayfair in identifying and responding to trends.
Market research is not an optional add-on to your business. It is a necessity. Effective market research also needs to be ongoing, and the most successful businesses are always adjusting their strategies based on that research.
Cathy Ackermann, founder and president of Ackermann Marketing and PR, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org