“Give the customer what they want,” the old adage goes. And unless you’re like Steve Jobs, developing products that people don’t yet know they want, it’s advice that we all do our best to follow.
So you conduct market research: We gather together the people we consider to be our target audience, ask them to test products, present them with cleverly designed questionnaires, and brace ourselves as they tell us what they really think. Because, if your offerings don’t align with their desires, it’s back to the drawing board.
And that’s the best we can do, right? How better to learn the preferences of your customers than to sit them down and ask them.
As it turns out, what we thought we knew about gathering consumer insights is wrong.
Philip Graves, leading consumer behaviorist and author of the best-selling Consumer.ology, spent the early years of his career conducting traditional market research on behalf of some of the world’s biggest companies – and he began to notice that something was amiss.
In his article, “The Research Paradox,” Graves shares his discovery of traditional market research’s fatal flaws. But, as it turns out, all’s not lost: there is a way to discover what consumers really want in the real world, and – good news – it means you can say goodbye to days spent soliciting test subjects with the promise of gift cards, free coffee and snacks.
Graves gives examples of how data gathered in focus groups has led major organizations astray and explains:
- Why customers are incapable of revealing their true preferences in focus groups
- The bias of data gained via social media
- How digital and voice interactions that capture conversations and voice of the customer are the key to understanding what they really want
Check out The Research Paradox now.