Market research is not a guarantee of success

Qualitative and quantitative research is not a guarantee of marketing or product success. Marketers also need to have some common sense when conducting market research because people say things in research they don’t actually intend to do.

A client thought they had a winner on a new Kombucha beverage. They researched everything from different flavors to the label and packaging but when their product got to market it flopped.

When I was reviewing their research I read the overview from the market research company along with recommendations from their marketing agency. While they were all positive there was something missing so I decided to watch some of the qualitative research.

What I saw, after people took a sip, was a look as though they swallowed something sour even though they commented they thought it was good. But as I watched some more I learned that they thought Kombucha was a “health drink” and as such was not supposed to taste great.

A smart marketer would have looked at this and thought about the positioning of the product but their marketing lead decided to go to market with the data he had. To product failed. Social media posts talked about the bad flavor as compared to other Kombucha beverages on the market. The other issue was they were priced twenty percent higher than competitors.

Their new product launch was a failure. It cost them well over $15 million as they discontinued the product because of weak demand. It was also a failure of their marketing lead who has since left the small company.

The importance of keeping a “pulse” on the market cannot be overemphasized enough. I remember sitting in some market research for a men’s health product and one of the advertising agency people saying “we can’t reach these guys with this message”. We had to go back to basic positioning and messaging to be effective.

With the pandemic still in control conducting research is hard say some marketing people but I would argue that social media is part of ANY brand’s research. All over Twitter, for example, people are expressing their opinions about products and brands. The trick is to better understand when to take action on what they say versus taking a closer look.

As Mr Ogilvy said “some people use market research like a drunk uses a lamppost…for support instead of insights”.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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