How risky is it for you to be wrong about your customers?

We all love to joke about how weathermen can be wrong half the time and still keep their job.  Not many of us have that luxury.  If you are in business to satisfy your customers you obviously feel the pressures from the fundamental rule of marketing:  you don’t get to be wrong about what your customers want, think, feel, value.

Today, so many tools exist to help you “be right” about what is happening in your customer’s black box.  And, the information can be obtained quickly and cost effectively.  As researchers, we have access to robust national and local consumer panels that allow us to conduct online studies that yield strategic insights in 48 hours.  Qualitative research has expanded well beyond traditional focus groups to digital platforms that provide opportunities for consumers to tell their stories which allow you to make product features and messaging so much more targeted and relevant.

Information, real insights, are vital at every stage in the marketing process—from refining product concepts to repositioning products as they enter the mature stage of their product lifestyle.  The key is to constantly be asking yourself: what assumptions am I making about my customers or target market right now?  How much risk am I willing to take by assuming rather than knowing?

We are all in the decision-making business.  Research can make it less of a risky business.

And, by the way, it might rain or snow, or it might not.

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