Why bother with marketing research at all?
If you have already decided on the path to take, product to develop, its pricing and its routes to market – save your time and money and go right ahead, there is nothing marketing research can do for you. Of course you might believe that you already know the right answers and marketing research will help add analytics backing to your case. If you are not looking to do anything different based the data you find, there is no incremental value from marketing research to you.
Why can’t I do it myself ?
Yes you can. You are very good at what you are doing and you took the right step of seeking information for your decision. But you are the decision maker, you are too close to the problem. Your biases will most likely push you to seek data that attests your notion rather than seek the right information let alone seek data that contradicts your notion.
I plan to talk to customers and validate my hypotheses, isn’t that enough?
What are your hypotheses? How many customers? How did you choose them? What do you plan to ask them? If you are simply verifying whether there exists few customers who are vaguely interested in a product that you have then yes, that is enough. The information you get from a few customers you talk to cannot validate any hypotheses about product features, pricing or segmentation. The output from “getting out of the building” and talking to prospects/customers is not data but informed hypotheses about their preferences, characteristics, buying processes, and segmentation that need to be validated across the wider market.
Isn’t it sending out surveys research?
No it is not. While a survey is an essential component of marketing research, sending out a canned survey or the one you designed yourself is not. First, there is the key step of doing qualitative research – customer interviews, focus groups, following the customer (ethnographic studies) and yes “getting out of the building” – that helps you find the language of your customers, the extremes of their preferences, and hypotheses about them. Then comes survey or surveys custom designed to seek specific and relevant information using rigorous data collection and analyses processes to validate these hypotheses. Remember, marketing research starts with talking to your target market and not with a canned survey.
Why would I spend money on hiring a professional do it?
Yes, there is cost to acquiring the information the right way, but what is the value of information to your venture?