Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Market Research for Software Developers

If Hewlett-Packard had listened to their market research, they would never have created color inkjet printers.

That's what David Packard wrote in his 1995 book "The HP Way - How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company."

In 1994, HP introduced the first color DeskJet printer. The cost was $365(US).

HP did quite a bit of market research, and the results were clear - Users did NOT want color inkjet printers. Printing in color was a very low priority for almost all of the people they interviewed.

HP asked them a key question - If they could buy a printer that met all of their business needs, and it happened to print in color, too, would that be a problem? People said that that would be okay.

In 1991, the worldwide market (from all printer manufacturers) for color printers was 360,000 units. By the end of 1994, HP sold almost 4,000,000 color printers.

So much for market research <g>.

There's a lesson here for software developers in today's turbulent economy - Talk to prospects and customers about what they want in their software. But if you're convinced that software buyers really want or need something else, then follow your heart.

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