According to a recent survey from a specialist PlayStation 3 site, geeks make the best lovers.
Let me clarify right from the start that as someone with distinct geek-ish tendencies, who is married to a confirmed geek, I have no intentions of arguing with the study’s conclusions – just with its methodology.
The problem with the survey is that it was biased. Given the audience likely to peruse a PS3-specific site, it’s fair to assume the respondents skewed more toward the “geek” end of the spectrum.
When conducting research you must know who you’re talking to in order to interpret the conclusions correctly. If they had done the same survey with a running site, would they have found out that marathoners are the best lovers?
In technology market research, identifying your research target audience is especially important. Customers will give you different insights than prospects, employees, partners, or even the customers of direct competitors!
If you’re talking to your customers, you need to acknowledge that by definition they have the pain that you’re selling to, or they wouldn’t be using your product. So, you shouldn’t do a customer survey and then announce, “100% of the MARKET does this.” Of course, it’s completely fair to say, “100% of our CUSTOMERS do this.”
In comparison, if you’re talking to the general market who isn’t as fully educated on your solution, you’ll need to tailor your questions accordingly. If you ask questions that are too detailed and specific to your solution, you’ll get uninformed answers. The type of questions that are appropriate for customers who are familiar with your product, are not the same ones to use for the general market.
For example, if you’re asking about product features, you will get vastly different answers from existing customers who know your product, and from your competitor’s customers who know an alternative approach. Both of these will be different from the answers you’ll get from prospects who don’t have any product experiences.
As with everything in market research, it comes back to goals. Your very first step should be figuring out your business goals. Then, figure out what you need to know in order to achieve these goals. Next, figure out who has that knowledge, and who doesn’t. Only once you’ve answered all these questions, you can dive into the details of the market research project.