Growth tips: Doing your homework always pays

Perform market research to save yourself a lot of time, money, and loads of serious aggravation.

December 19, 2012   by Andrew Shedden

The most dangerous words in manufacturing are, “Don’t worry, it’s a good idea and I know it will work.” These twelve words cost manufacturers millions of dollars every year. Sadly this has been the case since the first manufacturer and will still be the case a thousand years from now.

Manufacturers that are product-driven instead of being market-driven often pay a heavy price for willful blindness or trusting in intuition. Now I know there are visionary types who came up with wonderful products that took the marketplace by storm and were unqualified successes. I also know that they are the exception, not the rule.

If you take the time to perform market research you will save yourself a lot of time, money, and loads of serious aggravation. Like your old high school English teacher used to say, “Do your homework.”

The first step is to determine what you are trying to discover with your research. Product features, benefits, configuration, pricing, options? How about: headlines, offers, or guarantees? All of these and more are possible. Ask the right questions and you will get the right answers.

The next step is to determine who you want to survey. Most everyone likes to be asked their opinion. From CEOs to the newest hires, simply target those from whom you want input. You will be amazed at how simple it is.

The next step is to survey them. This can be done with relative ease using online tools like Survey Monkey.

The last step is analyze and apply your findings. The key point is that once you have a reasonable number of responses (minimum of 40 but 100 is better) you have the answers you need to make the kind of decisions that will dramatically improve your marketing.

Andrew Shedden is an industrial marketing consultant who helps manufacturing CEOs easily obtain rapid, sustainable, profitable, and guaranteed growth. For free business growth resources visit his website at

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