The biggest illusion human beings always have is “people love what I love”. So a thing happening really often in our daily life is that marketers believe that their ideas are really awesome and consumers will love it and buy their products. But, in the end, they only find that it’s not true.
Fortunately, it’s pretty simple to change that situation. Just do your research and deeply know your target audience before implementing your ideas.
The most famous failure caused by lacking market research in the history was the New Coke case.
As we all know, Coca-Cola did a blind test and decided to launch the New coke, which was sweeter than the Old Coke. At the same time, they stopped producing the Old Coke. That action caused a boycott of the New Coke.
They did the research, but not deep enough. People might like sweeter coke, but their profound emotion at the Old Coke and the brand that have accompanied with them since childhood and represented the American culture was something more important.
That was the same issue for The Weather Company (TWC) when they wanted to launch a running app called the OutSider in 2014.
TWC was the biggest name in the weather business, so it had a strong big data background in the industry. In 2014, in order to address the dramatic shift to mobile, TWC planned to leverage their big data to obtain new customers, establish more binding relationships with existing ones, and increase advertising revenue. And Huff, the VP of mobile app development, decided their target group as the outdoor enthusiasts. (According to The Weather Company HBR case)
The Weather Company resembled software designers, programmers, meteorologists, weather scientists and technologists together to brainstorm. And they finally decided to develop a running app–the OutSider. Runners could get the very detailed weather information and track their health data with the app. It also contained a music playlist in the app. Runners could share their data with friends on social media.
The team focused too much on the app design, but understood too little about the consumer insights. Comparing with other running app, the differentiators of the OutSider were the big data of the weather and the planning function. But it didn’t have functions such as the route map and the audio coach/personal trainer.
Usually, runners’ running route is nearby their home or their working place. And the running doesn’t spend them too much time. They can decide whether go running or not by simply looking out of the window and see how is the weather outside. So the weather data is not the biggest need for runners. However, they may want to know more about the route and the distance they run and have some professionals coach them how to run in a healthy way.
It might be a better idea to target cyclist and hikers. It takes cyclists and hikers much longer time at outdoors than runners. The weather information is always important for them when they plan a route. They may want to know the weather of exact locations they plan to go, not only the weather of the whole city. TWC can provide that information based on the latitude and longitude detected by the GPS. It would be even better if the app can help cyclists and hikers to plan their route with providing the weather data.