Am I the only one who doesn’t believe market research?

Now, I’m over exaggerating a bit, of course, because I know that there is nothing more important than understanding your customers and introducing the solutions that they need. Companies spend millions of dollars on market research in an attempt to create and refine products that do just that. The problem is that in many cases, customers don’t know what they’ll use or need (until it’s right there in front of them) —or don’t know how to articulate it.

A classic example of market research gone awry is the introduction of New Coke in the 1980s. Coca Cola’s research indicated that consumers would prefer a sweeter flavor of its soda. However, when the product was introduced, fans of the original formula were extremely vocal about their dissatisfaction, causing the company to reintroduce its original formula after just a few months.

Coke executives came to the same realization that many companies have before and since this event—they had misinterpreted their market research. I’m currently reading a book called “Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy,” by researcher Martin Lindstrom, which discusses this very problem. It has been pointed out that in order for market research to be accurate it must be conducted by highly educated professionals with advanced degrees. Too often, though, the people conducting the research do not have the expertise to properly write the questions and interpret the results—leading to flawed conclusions. The book also discusses neuroscientific research conducted by Lindstrom, a new approach that may give companies better insight into their research subject’s brains. Perhaps one day this method will help 3M and other companies get to the bottom of customer’s problems faster. Stay tuned for more insights from this interesting book.


4 comments so far

  1. Bill on

    Another intersting book in this area is “Why We Buy: The science of Shopping” by Paco Underhill. It delves in to psycology of retail and is a fascinating read into ourselves

    • 3M ESPE on

      Hi Bill,
      Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll check it out

  2. Eric Noel on


    Can you indicate whether 3M dental resin bound for the North American market is made in China?

    In not China, which country manufactures 3M’s dental resin?


    • 3M ESPE on

      Hi Eric,
      3M ESPE manufactures dental materials in two locations serving the global market – Irvine, CA. and Seefeld, Germany. No resin material is manufactured in China for the US dental market.

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