New Products – Innovation vs Market Feedback

In most large marketing companies, market research tends to rule, or rather, over-rule many marketing decisions. Marketing by numbers has become not only the favourite past-time of marketers, it has also become necessary to justify ever increasing budgets.

Most of the time, market research is useful and important. Product managers should never fall in love with their products and company owners should not be so enamored by their own cleverness that market feedback is ignored.

But what happens if the market says “no” when everything you believe in says “yes!”? This is a dilemma faced by innovators through out the ages.

If you believe market research, the Sony Walkman would never have seen the light of day. If you listen to market research, Intel’s CPU road map would be boring indeed. And of course, Microsoft, who in the world would have imagined that everyone “needed” to have Microsoft Office on their computers, at home? No one needed a telephone and the fax machine was a joke.

Then there is the now infamous line “… who would ever want to make a copy of that?”

Now, bring that into the context of Marketing, and you will begin to see the same behvaviour. When you propose a new idea that no one has ever tried before, the Management will more likely than not, shoot it down. Simply because it has never been done before. Keep this in mind when your next idea gets canned and just smile a little smile to yourself.

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