Why would you risk releasing a product to the market without verifying that it meets the needs of the target market and does not contain significant barriers to acceptance? Market research is a means of steering the product development process from concept to final product, ensuring that your development team has a good grasp of potential barriers to acceptance as well as the positive aspects of their ideas.
Market research is essential as a means of reducing risk, and the cost of market research is like the cost of insuring your house.
If your sample is too small, you will not achieve the level of certainty required to make a business decision based on solid evidence. However, it is also possible to spend too much time and money collecting data from a sample that is larger than you require. The "correct" sample size will depend on many factors, including the degree of "resolution" you require, the type of research you are conducting (for example, is it concept exploration or pricing?), and other factors.
Our expertise in statistics and research design can help develop a sampling plan that "right-sizes" your sample, ensuring the sample size is optimized to reduce uncertainty while containing research costs.
Product designers and marketers may be forgiven for thinking that the target market looks just like the person they see in the mirror every morning; this is a very human error to make.
When we probe for the rationale underlying the client's definition of the target market, very often we are able to identify other potential uses of the product or service. Although these additional uses may imply incremental markets, this does not necessarily mean that the research is more expensive. In some cases, it may suffice to add in "hooks" for future product customizing -- for example, making it simple to add labelling in another language, larger type, or Braille -- thereby helping to minimize the cost of adding additional users to the target market.