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Closing Feedback Gaps To Open Up Your Competitive Edge

3 min read
Market Research
Closing Feedback Gaps To Open Up Your Competitive Edge

You conduct market research and seek feedback to get a competitive edge. This research helps you create marketing and sales campaigns that work. But your feedback might have gaps that are turning your market research from a tool into a liability.

One well-known market research case illustrates this well: the disaster of New Coke in the mid-1980s.

In a nutshell, Coca-Cola Company had evidence that taste was the most important factor in their recent market decline. So they developed a new formula that was sweeter than the classic Coca-Cola product and did 200,000 blind product taste-tests in the United States. Sure enough, more than half of the participants liked the taste of the new formula over both the classic formula and Pepsi.

But when Coca-Cola launched the new formula to the world as New Coke, the product bombed. They pivoted quickly and reintroduced the old formula to the market as Coke Classic, eventually pulling New Coke from the shelves.

Making the Survey Too Narrow

So what went wrong?

Coca-Cola started with narrow research. They didn’t take into consideration factors other than taste. They missed two huge data points: 1) that customers expected the old formula to still be available, and 2) that customers were as addicted to the brand as they were the taste.

The lesson here is that market research surveys should be focused but broad. Make sure you are taking into account as many of the factors as possible in the market feedback.

Customers Don’t Feel Listened To

What are you actually doing with that customer feedback? Are you addressing complaints and solving problems? Are you acknowledging compliments and engaging with your audience?

Listening closely to feedback can provide valuable insights – but the action your company takes after receiving feedback will determine the effectiveness of the market research.

Switching brands is easier and easier for customers to do these days. Dissatisfaction is the driving force behind customers moving their business from one company to another.

Providing outstanding service – from purchase to post-purchase – will set a company apart. Use market research surveys as impetus to take action on what the public is telling you about your brand. A reputation for listening to customers and responding will take you far in this social-proof world.

Lack of Frequency

According to a 2012 survey by Pivot, 76% of marketers feel they know what their customers want yet only 34% have asked customers.

That’s outrageous.

You have access to better and better technology to ask your customers and the public what they think about their experience, your brand and your products. QuestBack offers best-in-class competitive insight that will give you an advantage in the rapidly moving marketplace.

Create a system for surveying your market that covers pre-purchase, customer experience during the purchasing process, post-purchase and long-term brand support (customer service, loyalty and advocacy).

Learn from your customers and prospects at every stage, apply this to your decision-making and make sure any customer concerns get addressed swiftly.

Lack of Trust

Confidentiality is a huge concern these days. “Data security” is the buzz-phrase of the decade. People simply don’t trust that you’re not going to sell their information to third parties. This applies not only to their names and contact information, but their survey answers as well.

Address this with a comprehensive privacy policy. Reassure your survey respondents at every turn, from the initial sign-up form all the way to the submit button.

Two other factors that sometimes come into play are sincerity and researcher integrity. A great way to ensure that survey respondents trust the people who are asking them the questions is to use a trusted market research company to conduct the market research for you.

Market research is a powerful tool in your company’s arsenal. Make sure you are covering all your bases and you don’t have feedback gaps that could make that data less than useful.


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