The New Echo Illustrates a More Reliable Way to Do Market Research

I recently saw an interesting promotion on Amazon for the 4th generation Echo Dot. It’s a round version being offered in three Diane von Furstenberg designs. The “special price” being offered is $59.99 which will go up to $69.99 after August 13. Not so unusual, but there’s an interesting twist to this offer.

The product hasn’t been manufactured yet. And it won’t be unless the pre-order goal is met by August 13. As I’m writing this post, 62% of the goal has been met.

Research Based on What People Do, Rather Than What They Say They Will Do

When I teach marketing research classes at a local university I often start the semester off by talking about when marketing research makes sense and when it may not. I share a story from my early professional experience working for a seminar that promoted its seminars via direct mail. As a recent graduate at that time I felt that our marketing director was ill-advised to not do marketing research before offering a seminar. He explained to me, though, that the cost of doing research then (this was in the late 1970s) would have been about the same if not more than simply mailing a brochure and finding out who would actually sign up for a seminar.

Asking people what they might do is never as accurate as actually finding out what they would do.

That’s what I find so compelling about Amazon’s Echo Dot promotion. They’re going to find out who would actually order one of these Diane Dots. If enough people order, then they’ll manufacture the product. If not, no harm no foul. They were very upfront about the fact that the product isn’t yet available, and people won’t be charged for the product until – and if – it is actually shipped.

Could This Approach Work For You?

Are there opportunities for you to apply this same approach in your product development or marketing efforts?

Today, of course, organizations and individuals holding seminars and events or, more frequently these days, webinars can promote them very inexpensively via digital media. They don’t need to do marketing research to find out if people will sign up; they can just see if they’ll sign up. Easy enough for them.

For others, especially those in the product space, manufacturing a product can represent a significant investment. The bigger the investment the more likely marketing research would make sense. Or, they could take the Amazon approach. I’ll be very curious to see how many other offers like this begin cropping up.

I’ll also be interested to see if Amazon hits its goal. And I’ll be one of the first to know because, yes, I fell for the pitch. I ordered the Twigs version! I did this even though I already have several Echo Dots, an Echo Show, and two first-generation Echos. There’s one born every minute…

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