Asking the Right Research Questions

Another consideration related to market research information gained from potential customers is where or from whom does the customer want the intended offering. Just because a potential customer wants the product described in market research surveys, does that mean they want it from you? If a potentially groundbreaking new product were to be offered by an established player in the market, there would be little risk to the customer. For example, if your favorite airline now offered cheap, non-stop service to your favorite destination, you’d probably be very happy. If, on the other hand, this potentially groundbreaking product were to be offered by a brand new company with no track record in the market, there is a high potential risk for the customer. For example, a start-up airline offering service to an attractive destination that has never before received air service. In this situation, the customer might not feel so comfortable (or be so happy).

Thumbs UpTry This: When conducting research, in addition to asking questions about the potential product or service, include information about your venture and the type of company you are launching. Be upfront about size, location, history (or lack thereof) and other related factors.



Thumbs DownAvoid This: Don’t assume that just because a customer research respondent responds favorably to the idea of your offering that they want to buy it from you.



On a related note, just because a potential customer says they want a product, do they want it now? Its likely that the product or service you’re offering isn’t a consumer staple that potential customers will be consuming on a daily basis. Instead, your offering will be similar to the millions of other products and services out there that are purchased on a random, non-routine basis. While market research from your potential customers may determine that there is demand for your offering, the question is will they purchase your offering when you want them to. Does it do you any good if potential customers may purchase your product within two years of launch? Likely, you’ll need consumers to come to the market much more quickly. As a result, you’ll have to find ways to force customers to come to your product as soon as possible, eliciting a sense of urgency.

Thumbs UpTry This: Understand how often the respondent intends to purchase the product or service.




Thumbs DownAvoid This: Don’t simply rely on customer research responses, look at other data to identify consumer habits and behavior. Consensus data and related information are a good way to identify how often households purchase certain products or services.

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