Market Research: the Theory and Practice

The basic principles of market research are not all that difficult. You ask what your market wants and then you give it to them. Like many things in life, the rub occurs somewhere between the theory and the practice.

You’d think it would be pretty easy to ask a market what they want and take down the answers.

Not always.

Good market research requires excellent listening skills. Often, people let their assumptions (what they think they know) get in the way.

Assumptions prevent us from really being able to listen and hear. Assumptions are a bit like a fish not seeing the water. We get so used to our assumptions that we regularly mistake them for fact. This isn’t an insurmountable – but it does require effort and learning to become aware.

Then, of course, there are the assumptions of the people we’re talking to. People want to be liked and respected, so there’s a tendency to give responses that either:

a). they think we want to hear or

b). that are a bit rebellious to let us know they’re not like everyone else.

The truth is somewhere in between.

That’s where the art of market research comes in. In developing excellent listening skills, you learn to be able to draw people out and get deeper answers. Those deeper answers enable a company to create good communications and great products and services.

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