Friday, December 2, 2011

Are you wasting money on market research?

Okay, this is a deliberately provocative question. My goal: To get you thinking about the best way to learn about what your members really need. 

Let's begin by considering this example of how Honda, when it was first designing the Civic back in the 1960s, eschewed traditional marketing research in favor of a more direct approach: observing its customers:

A U.S. Honda design team, stalemated on a trunk design project, spent an afternoon in a Disneyland parking lot observing what people put into and took out of their car trunks and what kind of motion was involved...Honda didn't hire an outside market research firm to provide stacks of data about trunk usage. They took a more direct approach and ultimately came up with anew design. 
(From: Competing for the Future by Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad)
So ask yourself: Would a "more direct approach" work for your association? Why not spend a day - or two or three - in the life of your members? Imagine what you could learn by just observing! While you mull that over, take time to read a classic article, Spend a Day in the Life of Your Customers. The authors note, "A senior executive’s instinctive capacity to empathize with and gain insights from customers is the single most important skill he or she can use to direct technologies, product and service offerings, communications programs, indeed, all elements of a company’s strategic posture."

'nuff said!

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