Hands up all those who knew that over 7000 people in the UK still watch television in black and white…
If you think this sounds ridiculous, I would agree, but it is true. Proof, if it were needed, that you should never make assumptions about other people’s buying habits.
The history of product development is littered with examples of ideas that their creators’ thought would sell by the truckload, only to find that no-one wanted them. This is usually the result of following personal conviction rather than market research and evidence. This approach can also be spectacularly successful – Steve Jobs famously developed products that no-one knew they wanted yet – but it often results in failure.
Possibly the best approach is to combine radical insight with thorough research. This means exploring exciting product and technical possibilities but testing those ideas with representative customers and influencers before committing to final development and production. Ideally, you will develop a relationship of trust with a small group of customers who will give you honest and accurate feedback on your ideas – possibly in return for offers or discounts. You might also employ external specialists to arrange customer clinics and competitive benchmarking.
However you do it, make sure your marketing is based on facts, not feelings.