July 26th, 2005 by Bob Bly
It sounds like a good idea: survey customers to find out what they want, and then let their answers shape your product development and marketing.
But in reality, it?s often a bust.
A case in point: according to an article in BusinessWeek (8/1/05, p. 38), in 2002 the Gap began an intensive program of focus groups, surveys, and other market research.
But in the fiscal quarter ending 4/30/05, sales fell 4% ? and analysts expect them to drop another 2% for the quarter ending on 7/30/05.
The reason: eight former employees and two analysts say the Gap ?has shifted too far toward research and away from the instinct and emotion favored by many successful clothing merchandisers.?
My question is: how much time and money do YOU spend on customer surveys and other market research? And how strongly do the answers influence your product development and marketing?
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