Why Market Research Is Broken

Section: The foundation of modern marketing is market research. Unfortunately, the process is broken. Market researchers are trained to ask questions in ways that produce certain responses and some research methods are just plain wrong. 

When you understand how market research is flawed, you can use it to identify problems and opportunities that others overlook giving you a competitive advantage when creating new products and services or entering new markets.

Why is Market Research Important? – YouTube
1. Market research methodologies need reevaluation in light of changing consumer behaviors.
2. Technology and automation can offer solutions to the limitations of traditional research methods.
3. Real-time insights are crucial for accurate decision-making, highlighting the importance of agile research.
4. The market research industry should prioritize adaptation and innovation to remain relevant.
5. A holistic approach that combines human expertise with advanced tools can lead to more effective research outcomes.

Market Research Is Too Slow

With today’s global marketplace, markets are changing at lightning speed and businesses need to be able to respond quickly in order to stay competitive. 

Unfortunately, market research doesn’t keep up. It can cost months or years to complete a single study and it often fails to provide clear insights into how your customers behave or what they want.

Despite these limitations, many companies still rely heavily on market research as their primary approach for making strategic decisions about new products and services but this doesn’t have to be the case! 

There are better ways of getting real-time feedback from customers than waiting months or years for a study that may or may not provide useful insights into how people really feel about you right now (and will only get old fast).

When it comes to market research, it’s important to recognize its flaws and seek improvements. Our article on Marketing Research: Why It Doesn’t Always Work and How to Do It Better delves into strategies for enhancing your research methods.

Market Research Is Too Expensive.

If you’re a small business, market research can become prohibitively expensive. The cost of getting an expert opinion on your product or service can be tens of thousands of dollars per month and it will take months to get results back. 

If you don’t want to spend that kind of money, you may have no choice but to use cheap market research methods such as surveys or focus groups that lead to biased results because they only represent a small fraction of potential customers.

Market Research Is Too Slow

In today’s world where companies need immediate answers and insights into their markets, traditional market research methods are simply too slow for most businesses’ needs.

Especially startups who need feedback on product ideas as soon as possible so they don’t waste time building something nobody wants!

Market Research Does Not Deliver Real Information

Market research is a flawed way to learn about your customers. Let us count the ways:

Market research does not have access to real information, especially when it comes to understanding customer needs and expectations. 

The focus is on asking questions and collecting data, but market research cannot teach you what your customers are thinking or feeling because all it can do is ask them questions. 

And even if they’re willing to tell you what they think, most people will give answers that they think they should give rather than telling you how they really feel about something.

Market research has been taught as an end in itself rather than just one part of the process needed for innovation, action, intuition and creativity.

All of which are required for truly great products and services that meet real customer needs with delightful experiences at every touchpoint along their journey with your brand or company!

Exploring various types of marketing research can provide valuable insights into refining your approach. Learn how different methodologies can address the challenges discussed in Why Market Research Is Broken.

Market Research Does Not Address Today’s Market And Consumer Realities

Market research is often done in a vacuum and not always relevant to the current market. Most companies conduct their research on proprietary data sets, which means that they use only the data they have access to and don’t consider other sources or types of information. 

In addition, many studies are conducted too late to be effective; it takes time for new insights from market research to make their way into product development processes, so by then it may already be too late for some products or services. 

While this isn’t necessarily an issue for large corporations with deep pockets who can afford extensive internal teams (like Procter & Gamble).

It does pose problems for smaller companies that need quick turnaround times that are often difficult if not impossible to achieve with traditional methods of market research.

Market research also fails because it’s hard for humans even experts to capture all nuances of consumer behavior in an individualized manner. 

Market researchers end up talking about “consumers” as a whole rather than individuals, who might behave differently depending on where they live or what kind of income bracket they fall into. 

And even if there were no differences between consumers at all (which doesn’t exist), there would still be differences between consumers within each demographic group based on gender, age, education level etcetera…

Market Research Does Not Consider People’s True Preferences And Behaviors

You might have noticed that the markets and consumers you’re interested in are constantly changing. One day, it’s all about streaming music and podcasts; the next, it’s social media influencers and viral content.

This is because people’s preferences and behaviors change over time. And when done properly, market research can help you predict these changes and develop products or services that satisfy them.

For example: If your company makes a sports drink that contains vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes (i.e., sodium), but no caffeine or sugar (because some people don’t like those).

Then it would be useful for you to know whether your customers prefer those ingredients even if they’re not currently popular with other sports drinks on the market. 

This kind of insight could come from an annual survey of current users asking questions like “What are some ingredients missing from your favorite brand?” or “If there were one thing you’d change about this product/brand/company/etc., what would it be?”

Just like in zombie movies, unexpected twists can teach us lessons applicable to marketing research. Discover intriguing insights in 11 Things Zombie Movies Can Teach Us About Marketing Research that might reshape your perspective.

Market Research Is Biased

That’s right. It’s broken, just like you. And you know what? That’s okay! It doesn’t mean that market research is bad or useless; it just means we need to understand our biases and use them to get the best results out of our market research efforts.

What are these biases? There are many types, but they all stem from one simple fact: people are biased because they don’t want to admit they’re wrong or think about situations differently than how they already do (and sometimes don’t even realize those situations exist). 

They also can’t separate their feelings from the facts of a situation when making decisions about things like their career path or where they live this may seem obvious, but most people aren’t aware that their emotions affect their decisions this way unless someone points it out!

Market Research Is Misleading

Market research is misleading. That’s because it relies on assumptions, generalizations, and the past not reality.

Assumptions: Market research assumes what you know to be true about your customers, but isn’t true. 

It doesn’t take into consideration how they will react when they’re exposed to new ideas or products that are different from what they have historically done or purchased before (i.e., their behavior).

Generalizations: Market research uses averages and broad-based conclusions instead of looking at individual differences in preferences between people within a market segment (i.e., your customer base).

Past: Market research focuses only on what has happened in the past rather than projecting forward into the future or understanding why people do things now versus then the history behind why we buy things may not apply anymore. 

Because conditions have changed dramatically over time (e.g., there was no internet back then so that’s why we bought books from physical stores; now there are online stores where you can buy books).

Market Research Is Irrelevant

The problem with market research is that it’s irrelevant.

It’s not relevant to the consumer, because they don’t know what they want until they see it. (Or at least, this is true of most people.)

It’s not relevant to the company, because the whole point of a company is to create new things and sell them.

It’s not relevant to the product or industry because there are no products or industries yet! 

Products are created by companies; industries are created by markets and economies; economies are shaped by politics, finance, and culture and none of these things have anything to do with market research.

Embracing technology’s influence on market research can lead to innovative solutions. Learn more about the potential of research on wearables in our article Doing Marketing Research on the Wrist to adapt your strategies.

Market Research Asks The Wrong Questions

If we want to hear what people think, then let’s ask them. Let’s find out what they think so they can tell us. And if you ask the right questions, you’ll get a lot more than just an opinion. 

You’ll get a real insight into how people will behave in the future, and that kind of information is incredibly valuable when it comes to making decisions about your business or product launch.

Leading market research firms have realized this fact and their approach has been changing accordingly. 

The good news is that there are now plenty of places where you can go to find out what customers want and need from your company, without having to pay for endless surveys and focus groups (which still take up way too much time).

Market Research Ignores The Customer Experience In Favor Of Data. Data Can’t Tell You Anything. Only People Can

Data is only a tool. It can’t tell you anything, because it’s just a bunch of numbers. Only people can tell you anything because they are the ones interpreting and acting on the data. 

But we all know that humans are flawed and biased, so it’s important to consider all factors when attempting to conclude your market research.

Sometimes the best way to do this is by looking at other industries where data has been used incorrectly and then using those mistakes as an example of what not to do when conducting your market research! 

Take medicine as an example: In medicine, they have patient records that contain tons of high-quality data about their patient’s medical histories, which usually includes information like age. 

Gender and weight along with disease severity measures such as blood pressure readings or even whether or not they currently smoke cigarettes (as well as many other variables). 

However, despite all these details being available in these medical records, there has been very little progress made towards understanding how this type of information influences health outcomes over time.

Due mainly at least partially to due lack of adequate statistical models available today which were designed specifically around such large amounts of data.

Market Research Doesn’t Need To Be Static. It Should Be Dynamic

Market research doesn’t need to be static. It should be dynamic, agile, and iterative.

Research should not be a one-time event but rather an ongoing conversation where we ask questions of our customers and listen intently. 

We don’t want to hear what they think of our current products or services this is something we already know (or can tell just by looking at sales figures). 

Instead, we want them to tell us about the world they live in so that we can shape our products and services around them. 

Market research shouldn’t be about how your company compares against its competitors because that doesn’t matter; 

What does matter is understanding how customers feel about the product category as a whole, their experiences with previous iterations of those categories, and which changes you could make over time that would improve those experiences for everyone involved.

To overcome the challenges of broken market research, honing your skills is crucial. Explore actionable insights in Ways to Master Marketing Research and discover methods to enhance the effectiveness of your research endeavors.


Market research is not a solution that marketers can take or leave. It’s the foundation for millions of decisions that shape our lives, from what products to buy, where to shop, and what content we consume on TV, the web, and social media channels.

That’s why the research industry must step up its game. We need to do more than simply react to changes in technology we need to embrace them. 

We need a new kind of market research that adapts as quickly as today’s consumers do one that asks questions about people’s real-life experiences rather than relying on surveys or focus groups alone.

Further Reading

Explore more insights on the challenges and improvements in market research:

The Market Research Industry: A Call for a New Era: A thought-provoking piece discussing the failures of the market research industry and the need for a new approach.

Why Traditional Market Research Is Broken: Discover why traditional methods of market research may be ineffective in the current business landscape.

Why Market Research Has Never Replaced the Machine: A perspective on the role of automation and technology in reshaping market research practices.


What are the challenges faced by the market research industry?

The market research industry often grapples with outdated methodologies and a lack of adaptability to modern business needs.

How does traditional market research fall short in today’s business environment?

Traditional market research methods can struggle to capture real-time consumer insights and adapt to rapidly changing market dynamics.

What role does automation play in revolutionizing market research?

Automation and advanced technologies have the potential to streamline data collection, analysis, and decision-making processes in market research.

Can machine-driven approaches replace traditional market research?

While machine-driven approaches can augment market research, a balanced integration of human expertise and technology is often more effective.

What is the significance of embracing a new era in market research?

Embracing a new era in market research involves adopting innovative strategies that align with the evolving needs and expectations of businesses and consumers.

What Is Market Research?

Market research is the process of gathering information about the market, product, and customers of a company. This information can be used to make decisions about what products to offer, how to sell the products, and how much to charge for them.

What Are Some Common Misconceptions About Market Research?

There are many misconceptions about market research. The first is that it’s expensive and time-consuming; however, this isn’t always true. 

Many companies use tools like Google Surveys or SurveyMonkey to collect data quickly and cheaply. 

Another misconception is that all information gathered through market research must be kept confidential; however, this isn’t always true either some companies may choose to disclose some data publicly while keeping other information private.

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