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What About Research?

nowlaterWhen you ask marketers why they don’t do research to support their initiatives, you often hear one of two responses…sometimes both.

“There’s no time  – we’re on a deadline.”

“It costs too much.”

Recently, at the 2013 BMA International Conference, a couple of speakers had some interesting things to say about that.

First, in her keynote, Kathy Button Bell, CMO of Emerson, said that 90% of the pain marketers feel is because they “didn’t have time.”  She singled out the folly of not getting the appropriate customer insight.

“What’s the worst thing people say when you ask them ‘did you go ask the customer?’…I don’t have time.”  She continued “I think it’s irresponsible.” (about 26:10 into the session video for those who attended and have access to the session videos).

Just minutes later, Fred Wiersema, Chair of the ISBM, cited research he’d done that suggested 7 in 10 new offerings fail in the market for reasons related to the customer.

“We didn’t get the right customer input. Therefore we don’t have the right specs.  We didn’t have the right design.  We didn’t test it properly.” (about 8:10 in the session video for those with access).

So when you’re developing your latest initiative, if you find yourself offering these reasons as to why you’re foregoing the research, think about the wise words of these two very respected marketers.

Also, consider some other potential consequences…

  • Not taking time to gather important information upfront could lead to more time spent in post-mortem meetings explaining why the initiative failed
  • Not having time to talk to customers at the beginning could require even more time retooling the initiative if it tanks in the market
  • Spending $50,000 or even $100,000 to collect information is nothing compared to the $50 or $100 million a failed initiative could cost your company

We think it’s better to spend the time learning now than to spend it explaining later.  And if you get push back from your colleagues, we can help — just forward this post.

About the Author

Ed Erickson is the President of Erickson Research, a Chicago market research consulting firm. You can find Ed on LinkedIn and .

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