Anyone who has spent a decent amount of time in the field of customer insights has plenty of anecdotes about companies that either didn’t see the value of research, or claimed they couldn’t afford it, only to find themselves with a financial calamity that properly conducted research would have circumvented.
A fairly recent study conducted by AcuPOLL Research showed that 80-95% of new product introductions fail. It’s been estimated that one out of every five thousand inventions progress to successful product launches. One third of all new businesses fail within their first six months.
Heaven only knows what percentage of business initiatives fail, or, perhaps more commonly, drain enormous amounts of company time and resources before being shelved for what could be any one of countless reasons.
The fact is, people make mistakes. All the time. Smart people, experienced people, successful people all make mistakes. They thought they were right, as they’ve been many times before; but they were wrong. Heck, ex-Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan admitted he had put too much faith in the self-correcting power of free markets. The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards didn’t think “Satisfaction” would be a hit. There are a million stories like these. There are a million books about stories like these.
So “What’s the cost” isn’t the important question about customer insights. The important question is “What will it cost me not to embrace customer insights”?