Sometimes, just sometimes the customer is not truthful about things! May be a more politically correct way of putting it is to say that quite often, what the customer says does not always align with how they act. Let me give you an example.
A number of years ago I worked in Spain for a business that had the leading fly spray in the country. Our marketing team conducted market research to establish how it could improve its product. At the same time they were looking at introducing some new perfumes and had a few on test. Part of the survey was to test consumers’ reaction to the new perfumes. Do you know what the overriding finding of the market research was?
The vast majority of consumers by a long way said that the one thing they found obnoxious about fly sprays was the perfume. In fact any perfume. So, marketing department concluded the research demonstrated the need for an odourless or perfume-free fly spray.
As supply chain director I was charged with obtaining an agreed quantity of product. This was duly distributed to market and put on offer. Do you know how many we actually sold?
I think it was 1, ok may be I am lying a bit here myself it could have been 2 or 3! Basically, there was no interest in the product whatsoever, regardless of what the market research suggested. Why?
I suggest the reason is that notwithstanding the pungent smell it is a good indicator as to the amount of poison the user is spraying into the atmosphere of their home. This psychology sort of stacks up and I am sure you are saying of course anyone can see this.
But as in other walks of life, sometimes the blindingly obvious does not make itself aware to you until after the event!
The marketing moral in this story is simply, treat market research with care and customer feedback and comment should always come with a ‘health warning’. Designing research requires a lot of planning and careful consideration, especially in the design of the questions.
If nothing else it always makes sense to get an independent perspective which of course you can by simply e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org