I came across an article publicized on Inc.com titled “Market Research is Overrated” written by Paul Brown, a best-selling author for a number of business books. The article discusses the value of market research and how listening to the market, and not market research, may be the most important predictive factor of how well your new product or service becomes. Naturally, the RMS Analytics team has its own take on Brown’s market research article.

To read the entire article on Inc.com click here.

Is market research overrated?

Here is the RMS Analytics team response to the question: “Is Market Research Overrated?”:

  • “Brown’s piece seems to be directed at people who are not researchers, aimed at convincing them that they are better off not doing research themselves. For example, he introduces one of his arguments against research with the sentence, “There is a second problem with doing all that research, especially if you are not a trained professional (emphasis added).” I will agree that it’s arguably better for someone to do no research at all than to attempt something that they aren’t trained in. But I cannot agree that market research is “overrated” or some useless formality that won’t benefit you any more than gut instinct or informally asking a small handful of people their opinion. That’s just silly. For every anecdotal example Brown cites about some visionary who had a great idea, ran with it, and had it work out for them, I can recall one from my own experiences at RMS of an organization who came to us after they had what they initially assumed was a bulletproof idea, ran with it and then stumbled over unforeseen challenges that would probably have been uncovered with some upfront research. Over the years, I’ve observed that there is a certain segment of business people who trust their instincts above all else and will rush headlong into a venture no matter what the data might say. Many of those people will read Brown’s book and enjoy it because it will validate their dice-thrower’s mentality and overconfidence bias. Fortunately, there are also people who prefer to do a little homework before committing their organization’s resources, and they understand that properly executed market research is actually underrated in terms of the money, time and effort it can save them.” – Vance Marriner, Senior Research Analyst at RMS
  • “A business may be able to forgo the market research process for product development, but only if a company is small and/or the investment for creating the product is insignificant.  However, in more cases than not, the cost of developing a new product or service offering can be quite significant (especially if it turns out to be a complete flop and needs to be completely rebooted).  When taking these costs into consideration, the overall expense of market research is usually insignificant when you are looking to develop a new product.  In this article, the author is correct in stating “it is only the market that will tell you if you are right” with regards to a new product, however I would say that this is also the exact reason that you need to reach out to the market before you develop a new product.  The first step in market research for innovation is exploratory research. This can help identify any unforeseen problems that a product may have and help push the product in the right direction.  Each market research methodology has its own limitations and while you can’t always take a consumer’s opinion at face-value, there is a lot to be learned from listening to what the customers want and need through both their past experiences as well as current (in-the-moment) experiences.” – Chris Coville, Senior Research Associate at RMS

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in concept testing or conducting a market assessment of a new product or service contact our Business Development Director Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.