One HUGE Reason to Do Market Research

April 3, 2012

Cases, Strategy Concepts

If I surveyed all of this month’s visitors to the site (and you all answered the survey), I’ll bet we’d end up with a pretty well aligned answer to the “Why do market research?” question.  I’d expect answers like:

  • Identify potential customers
  • Know your customers’ needs and what they value
  • Understand your customer
  • Get feedback on your product or service

Yeah, OK.  All pretty straightforward stuff; and true and important.

But I think there’s . . .

One HUGE Reason

Whatever you are thinking or planning to do in your business, you are probably wrong!

Unless we survey, unless we “ask”, there’s a huge chance what we think and assume is wrong.

And without getting some direct feedback from our customers, we’ll be heading down a dead-end road.

And I’m speaking from experience.  Even those of us focused on business and strategy – skilled in Marketing – don’t know everything and can make a wrong call once in a while.

And here’s what happened to me in the last few weeks.

You may know that I have had a survey up for a few weeks, seeking input into the title of my ebook for StrategyDIY.  (If you had not seen the survey, here’s the original link –> 60 Days to a Growing Business Survey).  I’ve been shaping the book for some time, based on the coaching projects that I’ve been doing with some of the StrategyDIY community, in addtion to some interactions on forums and Twitter (thanks, by the way, to all of you that have been talking and working with me).

And, I’ve been working to really nail the title.

In the first phase of my research, I tested a basic concept for the title, asking about “8 weeks” or “60 days” and which one is more attractive.

The responses started mixed, but really moved toward “60 days” quickly.  The timeframe seemed shorter to many and something not too far away or unachievable.  Even though, basically, they are the same timeframe, there was clear preference no matter who voted.

So, I felt that you had given me the cornerstone for the title and I went to phase 2 – selecting the full title and subtitle.

And here’s where the wheels fell off.

My research and coaching work said there’s a lot of us have some fear in running our businesses – fear of where the next sale comes from, fear of failure, fear of the “unknown”.  So I tested those concepts.  I thought, well, I’ve got the ’60-days’ part nailed down, and the people I’m working with are talking a lot about their many fears, so a natural title could be about avoiding fear, eliminating the fear, etc.

But that didn’t work out so well.  Market Research Results

The feedback was really rough.  Not well accepted.  As a matter of fact, none of the fear-based selections rated higer than “moderately interested” in a ebook of that title.  Well, moderate won’t be so great.

But, I did two things in this survey that made this project all the more valuable.

First, I added one positive option for the title. One title that was not so much fear based as reducing risk.  And this was the title that received the most Extremely and Very interested ratings. It’s the one that skews the results show in the chart to make them seem higher than they really are.

And second, because I wanted to keep this survey really simple I cut a few titles I wanted to test out of the survey, so I added in one last open-ended question: What else would you like to tell me?  I guessed I would get very little info.

But, in fact, this is where most of the great insight came.  About 50% of the respondents left a comment.  And the comments were pretty much about my “too negative” theme.

Here are some of the actual quotes:

  • When I first read “60 Days to a Growing Business” I thought it was aimed only to startups.
  • The title needs to be more upbeat and success oriented
  • I think you need a more attractive title
  • “A growing business” doesn’t feel strong enough
  • Your sub-head is too long and negative

But Wrong is OK

I have no shame in being wrong.  I did the research to know; to confirm.

So, taking away the real insight from you, I redeveloped the study; changed the titles and subtitles for testing.  I’m now testing a more positive vibe and see how it goes.

If you want to see this new survey (not a sales pitch), click here –> 60 Days to a Growing Business Survey II.  Of course, I’d love to have you complete the survey.  Every response is valuable.

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