Many believe that Steve Jobs did not believe in market research. There must be some truth in this as once he said, “Don’t ask customers what they want, because they don’t know what they want.” On the other hand, he vigorously kept himself informed of market trends and consumer preferences over time. So where is the puzzle? What did he mean by not asking customers on what they want?
Probably he was not against market research. He was most likely referring to how the researchers usually come out to interpret the figures, yet miss the insight. Steve Jobs appeared to be very careful about end-user experience, otherwise Apple products would not have been here where it is today.
In many cases of new product development, probably you don’t need long trenched research because by the time you have your data in hand, the need might have evolved through time and morphed into another market segment that requires further research! We are not talking about research for the sake of it, but a set of actionable data that we can base our competitive decisions to stay ahead of others. Capitalizing on “competitive information” is the key to success here.