What to do when the results of your marketing research aren’t as good as expected?

Collaboration – September 5, 2014


Has your marketing research, for which you have spent any amount in the 5 digits, taught you that you are not targeting the proper audience, you do not have the right product for a particular market segment or, does nothing but confirms these beliefs? Despite this bad news, stay positive; this research could save you money!

It’s been weeks that your agency is working on qualitative or quantitative marketing research. You want to attack a new market or market segment, or, sell a new product. The day of the results has arrived and, the results are negative; the market is not interested, there is no potential or the success of your new product seems compromised.

Marketing research; it helps you save money

Marketing research costs money and that is because we hope it will bring us more than we spent. On the other hand, calculate how much it will have cost not to do this research, to set in motion time and energy on a bad market or market segment and, to realize that once all this energy has been invested, it does not work. Ouch!

Your firm or agency assumes the results

I experienced this a few times. This can be stressful and difficult for your agency to carry.

Should we recognize the quality of your consultant or analyst by their ability to find a workable and interesting morsel? If this means falsifying results or hiding negative results, the answer is clear: no.

This requires a dose of courage, self-confidence and the study, to tell the client that he was mistaken and that the results are negative. From experience, negative results require more time for analysis and preparation for your consultant, because he knows that he will be “challenged” by his client on his recommendations. He must have all the answers! So, in general, a good consultant will really think about his words before assuming negative results for the market.

Read future researches

Yes, it’s very annoying to have spent money on research for negative results. It feels as though you have instantly lost money. Your consultant will usually submit weaknesses of the study and suggestions for future research at the end of the presentation. Does he state certain weaknesses of the study and now wants to get you to do more research, to make you spend more?

This apparent self-flagellation to then try to sell you another research is part of the normal “scientific” methodology … even the most stringent scientific medical researches on cancer will have weaknesses and suggestions for future research!

Finally, future research can provide excellent food for thought for the next steps.

You have the feeling of having learned nothing …

It’s not that the results are negative; it’s that you have the feeling of not learning anything at all! How frustrating!

In this case, tell yourself that you learned something anyway; your statements and beliefs on the subject of the study were based and now confirmed to be (almost) scientific … go in that direction!

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