I appreciate and use mass market research for certain things. But let’s face it … when it comes to innovation market research misses out.
That’s primarily because market research is designed to be used for better “marketing” not for creating better products and services.
Most survey questions and broad based research aims to segment people in the same ways over and over again. Like by age, gender, location, ethnicity or household earnings. That’s why it is rare to find insights this way.
I’ll give you a fictional example. If you want to make a new product for moms to use for bathing babies, you could do market research and get the following: British moms who live in London and have yearly household incomes over £50,000 give their babies baths less often than other moms across the country.
How does this information help you make something new and useful? It doesn’t.
If you talk 1-on-1 to these moms you would find out that these market research numbers are just averages. The reality is that half of the moms bathe their babies more and half bathe their babies less. You would also start getting insights like 25% of these moms are obsessed with cleanliness. Then you would find out that these obsessed moms throw away wash cloths 2 times more than the others because they feel the cloths get too dirty after 5 uses. These moms wish they had another material that would hold up better in baths and that would also double as a toy for the baby.
Would this information be useful in making something new? Absolutely!
Now you’ve uncovered a completely new and unique segment of the mom market that is different from how your competitors are segmenting and targeting the same customers. You can target the obsessive cleaning moms in a way that speaks directly to them and their needs.
Mass market research is like trying to write a personal letter to 10,000 people and still make it feel personal. It just isn’t going to happen.
Talking to many customers 1-on-1 is the way to truly uncover insights that can lead to game changing products and services.