Don’t do research if you won’t use it

Do you ever plan a vacation with no intention of going?

Do you ever research the best schools in town even though you don’t have kids?

Do you ever research houses and the best mortgage rates when you know you won’t be in the market for a new house anytime soon?

I don’t, and most people don’t. However, I see companies commissioning research with no plan to use it all the time.

Here are some the reasons why companies might not use their research.

  • It costs too much to act on the recommendations.
  • The people who asked for the research are different than the people who can take action, and they don’t see eye-to-eye.
  • They didn’t really want the research, they just wanted “validate our assumptions”, and dismissed the data when it actually contradicted their assumptions.
  • They plan to act on the research next month, or next quarter, or for the next release… or… well, that research is old now. We should do some new research.
  • They have too much data coming in at them from all directions (analytics, market research, social media, customer requests). They are data-rich but insight-poor. As a result, they ignore it.
  • The research didn’t answer a question they really cared about so it was easy to ignore.
  • The research is not relevant for where the product cycle is right now. For example, if the product is halfway developed, this would be a bad time to do research on what the product should be. If the answer isn’t “Exactly what we are building right now” what can you do with that information?


Think about it, when you undertake a research project, you are using a lot of resources. Your time, your money, the researchers time, your customers’ time. Before you make that investment, shouldn’t you make sure that you have a plan to use it?

You would never do research in your personal life if you had no intention of using it. Why should your business be any different?

(photo credit: (CCCL))