A Marked Need for Marketing

January 20, 2011 By Aminda

An organization’s marketing department is often thought of in terms of only one function – the communication. Granted, this is the most visible side, the ads and glossy brochures, but it really is only part of what Marketing does. Smart R&D teams will understand that they should be communicating and connecting with marketing to generate products not only with the best technology, but that are going to be the best sellers. Why? Because marketing is charged with tapping into the voice of the consumer, generating useful information about what features are desired and how much consumers are willing to pay for them.

With today’s technology, there is no excuse for an organization not to be taking advantage of crowdsourcing and social media for fast, budget-friendly market research. Market research teams are learning that, just like the audience of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” when polled had the right answer 93% of the time, “the wisdom of the crowds” is that a large group of average members can outperform a small group of experts. This practice even has a fancy new moniker – “prediction markets.”

While it may feel a little uncomfortable at first to researchers who are accustomed to very carefully selected populations and controlled studies, crowdsourced research offers flexibility, customer collaboration and speed. It can be helpful in getting a quick pulse on a strategy, idea, or experience and a great complement to traditional research, such as in validating or re-validate findings.

New tools allow brands increasing opportunities to engage with customers. Take Bulbstorm, for example, developer of Facebook applications that allow individuals, experts, and companies come together to share, improve, and market new concepts for products and services.

Marketing research – understanding the customers and the marketplace through primary and secondary research – is critical to every business decision. Now, more than ever it’s time for Marketing and R&D to communicate and collaborate towards meeting common business goals.

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Reader Comments

I'd agree with both Graham and Zoltan in that the best way to know what your market wants is to simply ask them. Too many marketers (not just newbies) simply assume people want a certain thing or like things a certain way, simply based off of their personal experience. It's a slippery slope. It's always best to research and FIND OUT, never assume.
Posted by Pierce on November 12, 2012

I am surprised at the extent to which in may situations asking the crowd the answer works surprisingly well. Maybe this is because the "experts" who continually deal with a subject get do get "stuck in seeing things the way they always have" to paraphrase Graham above. I think many of the really spectacular successes occur when somebody spots a need that nobody else perceives. I don't think the crowd would have predicted the success of the Windows operating system or even the World Wide Web for example. Maybe the real genius is knowing when to ask the crowd and when to strike out against the majority opinion.
Posted by Zoltan on August 24, 2011

Often people, and marketing people are no exception, get stuck in doing things the way they've always been done. These days in the world of business it's a quick way to go OUT of business.
Posted by Graham on August 9, 2011

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