When you have an opportunity to learn directly from prospective customers what they think about your products, I recommend that you listen and pay attention to them. Using product publicity for market research will allow you to get feedback from potential customers about your products. What follows is a true story.
I prepared a product news release for a company that developed a new chuck for use on Bridgeport milling machines. Those machines were developed in 1939 and are common in many machine shops. The new chuck was a convenient addition that saved operators significant time mounting products to be worked on. The product news release generated a great deal of press coverage in leading trade publications at the time (before the internet) and many good sales leads from qualified prospects that used a Bridgeport.
That was the first level of market research: the editors liked the product and chose to publish it and share it with their readers. When I asked the client how he did with the sales leads, he replied, “The idiots want a handle on it.” I asked him what he meant and he explained that all the people he contacted who inquired about the product suggested that they would buy it if it had a handle on it. “So, put a handle on it and sell it to them,” I replied. The client went on to explain why it didn’t need a handle. Duh!
He made no sales! Obviously, direct feedback from qualified prospective customers is invaluable in situations like this where the suggestion was so clear. Only an idiot wouldn’t listen and pay attention to what qualified prospective customers were asking for, especially when it was a simple modification like adding a handle.
© 2013 Steven M. Stroum