August 6, 2012

Steve Jobs famously maintained that the company never relied on market research to shape new products. Well, testimony at the Apple vs. Samsung trial tells a different story. The Wall St. Journal shares some fascinating marketing tidbits (Apple’s Secrets Revealed at Trial, August 3rd) and I am sure that they will share more, which I plan to comment on.

One of the “secrets” revealed by Apple designer Christopher Stringer is that the company’s did conduct research studies and they revealed that trust in the company’s brand was a decisive factor in buying decisions and that 78% of iPhone owners buy cases. Designer Schiller testified that surveys were considered important trade secrets at Apple, so keeping them secret was critical.

In my book and in my coaching practice, I’ve constantly told my clients and others in presentations the importance of market research; you need to know what your customers and your potential customers want and value. Yet, few small businesses ever conduct research or, if they do, they don’t know how to translate the data they collect into marketing action.

I guess that is one reason the fastest growing segment of my practice is research. The other reason is that there are numerous low-cost ways to collect data today, which are allowing us to work with dozens of companies that never thought they could afford research.

As I explain in my book, in a constantly changing world you don’t have time for “do overs.” You need to get it right the first time and research leads the way on this journey. Apple got it right by relying on a talented team with vision and research. Have a research question? Contact me. I’m happy to share ways any business can add market research to their marketing arsenal.

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