Phantoms of the Market

August 1998
by Brian Jud

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Market research is an excellent tool if the information is interpreted correctly. Raw data may not always give you an accurate picture of your market. Your analysis must go beyond the numbers to understand the people they represent. If this is not done, the process can come back to haunt you.

Discovering the Phantoms

Several years ago, I performed research among the country’s 8,000,000 unemployed people. A typical bell-shaped curve evolved pointing to an opportunity for 6,400,000 unemployed people who needed help with interviewing and writing a cover letter and resume (Market A). The research also uncovered two fringe segments comprised of people who did not need that information (Market B and Market C). Given the option of selling to a potential market of 6,400,000 or 8,000,000 people, I chose people who needed help with interviewing and writing a cover letter and resume. I wrote and published, Job Search 101, which described the traditional job-search skills sought by the majority of unemployed people. That decision, based upon erroneous analysis of accurate research, proved disastrous. The numbers which appeared so real on paper were only hallucinations in reality.Phantom demand. The masses may have the desire for certain information but not the resources to pay for it. Unemployed people, like most people, are unwilling to pay for any item they can otherwise get for free, and job-search information was available at no charge from libraries and state…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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