Leveraging Feedback to Make Better Decisions
Properly research your markets’ needs
Connect to your source
There are many mission-critical parameters a company must properly identify to be able to effectively serve the market. And when the most critical is forgotten, it can lead to the death of an organization.
Just a few of the factors that will have a strong bearing on long-term success include price, value proposition and varying methods of how best to approach to the market. The information gathered on these parameters is in turn used to build out sales projections. While there are many more items that will come into play, these few will serve our purpose for this discussion.
There are as many ways in which to approach making these all-important decisions as there are questions to answer. As the management team looks to develop the roadmap to success, they will often spend large amounts of time (and even larger amounts of money) in the process
In today’s age of information, it is relatively easy to secure information and market data on just about any topic under the sun to learn what is happening, what the key trends are and what the market appears to want. With Google and other search engines, we have the world at our fingertips. In an afternoon, one can gather volumes of information to help assess and develop the mission critical decisions. Gathering information in this manner is a good exercise to go through as it will help to provide different viewpoints in the market as you collect the data sets.
In addition to personal in-house research, many companies also outsource much of the process to contract research organizations to assess market opportunities. Such companies can provide up-to-date market information in whatever level of detail you might be looking for.
Beware that the greater level of detail required, the greater the cost of the information will be. It is not uncommon for a very thorough market report to cost tens of thousands of dollars. This type of data is very helpful in determining what the existing market is, but it is important to remember the information does not necessarily indicate how your product may or may not fit in.
Here is a scenario that I have seen time and again as companies build their roadmaps to success (and as often to failure): They have their management and marketing teams conduct the necessary research on the various parameters. They commission consultants to provide reports on various parts of the market. They then hold multiple meetings to discuss what the data points and the market research reveal. The management team then applies their expertise to project what this means, and they build their plans accordingly.
On the surface, this all seems to be a reasonable approach. We’ve done our homework (market research), we’ve secured outside help and have purchased up-to date-market demographics, etc.
So, we should be good. Right?
One fatal flaw that is missing in this equation. How many customers actually in the marketplace did we talk to? You may be astounded to learn that that in most situations the answer is a big fat ZERO!
Please don’t misunderstand, I am not discounting or belittling the information that we have gathered or sourced. It can and should be given serious consideration in the process. The difference is once you have this information, have studied it and have made what you feel are some good decisions based upon it, this is should be your starting point.
Unfortunately, many people treat it as the ending point.
They use the data and information gathered to build sales projections, to predict market adoption rates and build both short- and long-term plans — without ever having talked with actual customers to test anything.
The key takeaway here is this: Until you have validated your market assumptions by actually talking with customers to gain their input and opinions, then no matter how good your research is, you really have nothing but a college term paper.
You must go to the source and talk directly with the end user of the product to validate your work. Many companies ignore this all-important step. The corporate graveyard is full of great ideas and potentially great products because of this misstep.
Don’t become one of them!
Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.
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