“Market Research Rarely Reveals New Insights”

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(p. 69)  Competition in an industry tends to converge not only on an accepted notion of the scope of its products and services but also on one of two possible bases of appeal.  Some industries compete (p. 70) principally on price and function largely on calculations of utility; their appeal is rational.  Other industries compete largely on feelings;  their appeal is emotional.

Yet the appeal of most products or services is rarely intrinsically one or the other.  Rather it is usually a result of the way companies have competed in the past, which has unconsciously educated consumers on what to expect.  Companies’ behavior affects buyers’ expectations in a reinforcing cycle.  Over time, functionally oriented industries become more functionally oriented; emotionally oriented industries become more emotionally oriented.  No wonder market research rarely reveals new insights into what attracts customers.  Industries have trained customers in what to expect.  When surveyed, they echo back:  more of the same for less.



Kim, W. Chan, and Renée Mauborgne. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2005.




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