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Why Consumers Are Not Good at Telling You What They Want by Mathew Willcox

When Steve Jobs was asked if Apple had used consumer research to help design and launch the iPad, he replied “No.” And when asked why not, he said, “It’s not the consumer’s job to know what they want.”

While many us might not want, or might not be well advised to trust our guts to the extent that Jobs did, we could learn from his skepticism of asking people what they think and feel and taking their answers as definitive information to drive our marketing to them.

Actually, a better answer for Jobs to give would have been “The consumer isn’t very good at telling you what they want.” Yet most marketing research is based on asking them what they think about products, brands or ideas, whether it does this by questioning them in focus groups or having them answer direct questions in quantitative research.


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