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The Feedback Gaps That Could Kill Your Competitive Edge

3 min read
Market Research
The Feedback Gaps That Could Kill Your Competitive Edge

Companies carry out market research and gather customer feedback to help them get a competitive edge. Understanding this research helps you create marketing and sales campaigns that work.

But your feedback might have gaps in it that risk turning your market research from a tool into a liability. Here are four reasons why:

1. Making the Survey Too Narrow

One well-known market research case illustrates this perfectly: 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 its recent market decline. So it 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 product and Pepsi.

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

So what went wrong?

Coca-Cola started with research that was too narrow. It didn’t take into consideration factors other than taste. That meant it missed two huge data points:

  • that customers expected the old formula to still be available
  • that customers were as addicted to the brand as they were the taste

The take-home lesson is that market research surveys should be focused but broad. Make sure you are taking into account as many factors as possible when analyzing and processing market feedback.

2. Customers Don’t Feel Listened To

What are you actually doing with 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 overall effectiveness of your market research.

Today, switching brands is easy for customers, and dissatisfaction is the main reason behind customers moving their business from one company to another.

Providing outstanding service – from pre-purchase to post-purchase – will set a company apart. Use market research surveys as a stimulus to take action on what the public is telling you about your brand. Building a reputation for listening to customers and responding effectively is critical to succees in this highly-connected world.

3. Lack of Frequency

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

These days that’s inexcusable. It is easy to access highly effective technology for asking your customers and the public what they think about your brand, their experience and your products. Questback offers best-in-class competitive insight that will give you an advantage in today’s 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, such as customer service, loyalty and advocacy.

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

4. Lack of Trust

Confidentiality is a huge concern these days with data security a key issue for consumers. 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 that covers all their concerns. 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 have faith in the people who are asking them the questions is to use a trusted market research company to conduct the survey 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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