As more and more startups emerge, our role as market research hounds grows increasingly critical. According to a report from Tide, the UK ranked number one for places to start a business in Europe in 2021. 

Market research is a vital part for the many businesses who nail their business plan and view it as an essential ingredient, included right off the bat. Then there are market research fails, or rather businesses who failed to do their research. Of course, some choose to learn the hard way. And sometimes, the gamble pays off. But in many cases, it’s a flop. 

Here are two examples of market research fails from well-known businesses that didn’t do their homework.

Do Nothing

In 2009 HSBC bank hit a curveball after the global expansion of its US tagline “Assume nothing”, which was later discovered to translate as ‘Do nothing’ in several other countries. This cost the bank a tremendous $10 million, as they tried to recover the damage and rebuild consumer trust with the tagline “the world’s private bank”.

Colgate – Frozen food?!

You may or may not remember Toothpaste brand Colgate venturing into the world of frozen dinners in 1982. Whilst the business had established itself in oral hygiene, this was one brand extension consumers couldn’t get their heads around. 

As a small business owner, you may have overlooked market research for one of the following reasons.

  • You LOVE what you’re offering, so assume your customer will too.
  • Your product is similar to something prevalent that went viral last year, and everyone loved that, so you know there will be a demand for it.
  • Everyone is asking you about it, wanting to know when it’s available, so you’ve got loads of sales in the pipeline.
  • Since starting your business, you’ve had regular customers, so know they are happy.

So, why spend extra money on market research when that money can go into marketing or production?  You’ve got a product or provide a service that works, or at least you think it does, so why rock the boat?

Market research could soften the blow – make for an easy landing. But you’re not entirely sure how it works. In essence, it gives you a chance to hone in on your target market and talk to them in-depth about what they like and don’t like about it. 

Market Research will help you deliver the right product, with the right message, at the right time. Some simple changes you might have overlooked could save you a pretty penny. These changes can be identified through a series of focus groups, one-to-one interviews and surveys. Giving your consumers a chance to further improve a product or service that they already love.

What steps have you taken to make sure your consumers are happy? Let us know in the comments below.

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