I recently went into a late Friday afternoon Zoom call with a company I work with and breezily said, “Happy Friday! How are you guys all doing?” To which one of the clients responded “Still recovering from what you sent me earlier.”
Doesn’t sound like, on the surface, what I’d want to hear, right?
Earlier that morning I sent an extremely direct (as he explained after he read it), “hard-hitting but honest” report summarizing a number of insight interviews we had with their market about their brand recognition and reputation.
Not every time we’re hired to provide feedback to our clients is it rainbows and sunshine. It doesn’t always leave them confident they’re on the right track. And sometimes, the feedback is hard to hear. But I believe in being candid. There are times that what is most needed (although perhaps not necessarily wanted) is direct, honest feedback about how your product or service is being received in the market. Because only then, can you *do* something about it.
One person on this same call summarized it beautifully: “Okay, now we know. Now we know what we’re up against and we can work to fix it.”
Many times when I have initial discussions with clients about market research, I find that they want to validate their assumptions. That’s great. I highly recommend that data ought to be used to back up gut intuition or supply more metrics around anecdotal evidence. But be careful that the desire to “validate your assumptions” doesn’t turn into tuning out feedback that you may not want to hear. It’s often in this feedback where real product development changes or changes to marketing strategy can make a difference. Don’t let negative feedback dissuade you. Be thankful for the insights you gleaned—and then get to work to fix what you can.