According to a long-winded definition from www.businessdictionary.com, Marketing Research is…
“Scientific discovery methods applied to marketing decision making. It generally comprises of:
(1) Market research: identification of a specific market and measurement of its size and other characteristics.
(2) Product research: identification of a need or want and the characteristic of the good or service that will satisfy it.
(3) Consumer research: identification of the preferences, motivations, and buying behavior of the targeted customer. Information for marketing research is collected from direct observation of the consumers (such as in retail stores), mail surveys, telephone or face-to-face interviews, and from published sources (such as demographic data).
The main objective is to find a real need and fulfill it in a most cost effective and timely manner.
Also called market research.”
So it’s scientific…what does that mean?
And the main objective is to find a real need and fulfill it…OK.
In the last few weeks we’ve had the privilege of watching the real impact of Marketing Research in its purest form…getting off your duff and talking to people.
Through the Starting Lean course offered by the Norman Newman Centre, part of the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie University, the Canadian Business Model Competition sponsored by Deloitte, and events such as Startup Weekend Halifax and East Coast Startup Week, we’ve seen quite a few established and budding entrepreneurs talk about the value of engaging potential customers, investors, industry leaders and ordinary people in the process of vetting their ideas.
The exciting part is listening to them talk about their failures…especially those that did not stop them, but caused them to react, reconsider and pivot from their original idea to solve a pain point they discovered during the listening process.
Too often we’ve encountered successful companies who, in the face of customer objections, just continue to push on up the hill, only to find when they arrive…it’s the wrong hill.
So what’s missing from the definition above…nothing really, except we forget that part of scientific discovery is that we often find our hypothesis is wrong, so we need to reset our assumptions and repeat the process until we have a verifiable hypothesis.
Oh yes, and we should try and fulfill real needs. It’s a lot easier than pushing the rope uphill!
Here’s to all those involved in the discovery process…engage, listen and learn!