This week two events coincided to complement each other. The first (sun), we had a major market research deliverable that yielded the client insights we needed to finalize our preparation for an upcoming offering launch. The second (moon), I had the privilege to attend a session by Vijay Govindarajan “VG”, thought leader, author of several publications on innovation, and Professor in The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Both coincided nicely to help our team deliver new value to our clients and GE.
“Client INSIGHT not HINDSIGHT” – VG
As it relates to the market research project, this quote reaffirmed the approach we executed. The basic premise here is that you must truly understand client needs, versus attempting to understand how you can sell more of your product. There is a clear distinction between both and it will produce a significant strategic direction in your market research.
Achieving this decision, as easy as it appears, is more complicated than it sounds. In this case, three months ago, while in our planning phase, this decision yielded a large discussion with people on both sides of the fence. Why?:
We live with the pressure to sell what we already have.
We didn’t know if we could execute on the new findings.
There is a general skepticism on whether market research will provide us an answer or it will be limited to that sample group (everyone has exceptions or outliers as examples).
We thought we knew the answer.
We debated this internally but in the end we made the right decision; we wanted to truly understand client needs, even if we did not have an answer for those needs with our current portfolio. The end result is that the research, focused on client needs, yielded the information we needed as an organization to attack a $1 billion market. Yes, sometimes the sun and moon do align.
If you’re interested in VG’s work, here’s a good blog that explains his 3 Box Model. Also, here’s a video that encourages us – especially marketers – to execute on innovation, beyond theory.