First step, ask your customers what they want. Step two, give it to them. Third step, let the profits accumulate. If that sums up your understanding of market research, you are dead wrong . Ever since e-commerce began in 1994, entrepreneurs and marketers have followed these three common-sense steps, or some variation of them. In reality, these steps prevent you from understanding the true desires of customers and taking advantage of them. The reason for this is that customers don't really know what they want and are horribly bad at accurately reporting their wants. To work around this flaw, instead of asking them what they want, start by asking them what they do n't want . It's a weird concept for wrapping your noodles. But consider the status quo as the alternative.
Whether it's a one-man Shopify store or the employee email database founder of a company that survived the Dot Com bubble burst, the assumption about feedback-driven marketing is the same:“Ask the customer what he wants, then give it to him. »There is only one problem with this idea and the free survey templates that digital businesses send to their customers based on it. Customers don't really know what they wantgiphy Think for a moment of the polls you've seen in your own inbox like golf ball-sized hail on a rickety tin roof. "Would you use our product again?" » "Uh . . Sure? If I remember . . . " "How would you rate your recent experience with us?" »“7? 8 maybe? WTF, do those numbers mean?” Next, we see the grandfather of smart inquiry questions:“Would you buy a new XYZ product if we offered it? »The answers to none of these questions are reliable, but especially this last one.
It's a quirk about us humans, you see – we just suck at self-reporting. To boot, we're often wrong when predicting our own behavior, even when it comes to simple decisions like which small businesses we'll patronize in the future. According to research by statisticians Thomas D. Cook and Donald T. Campbell, customers responding to a survey "tend to report what they think the researcher expects to see" or even "what reflects positively" on them. . In other words, if you ask, "What do customers want?" and they tell you: Don't spend a dime of your R&D budget building it. Steve Jobs put it this way: It is not up to the customer to know what he wants. Fortunately, as surveys have become easier with software like SurveyMonkey , many online entrepreneurs have realized that questions beginning with the words "would you like to" probably don't make sense in a survey question. customer feedback. And I mean many online entrepreneurs get it. Just compare Google search results from "ask the customer what they want" to " do n't ask the customer what they want".