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The Business of Choice: Marketing to Consumers’ Instincts by Matthew Willcox

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15. Think Differently about Market Research

What people think or say they will do are poor predictors of actual behavior.

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, Jobs said, “It’s not the consumer’s job to know what they want.”

While many of us might not want, or might not be well advised, to trust our guts to the extent that Jobs did when he oversaw the creation of the iPad and iPhone, we could learn from his skepticism toward people knowing what they really want. Actually, a better answer for Jobs to have given would have been, “Consumers aren’t very good at telling you what they really want.”

Nonetheless, a lot of marketing research is based ...

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