Henry Ford Didn’t Get Market Research

Recently, a colleague posted the quote attributed to Henry Ford on LinkedIn and it kicked off a lot of comments that supported the belief that marketing research is a waste of time and money.

I wasn’t surprised.  I hear it from students when I teach marketing and marketing research.

And I hear from clients when I suggest that speaking with their customers about their experiences with the business – the good, the bad and the ugly if you will – so that customer retention can be improved.

I also hear it coupled with references to Steve Jobs famous “…because customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them.”

But one of the nice thing about being older and more experienced is that I remember things.

The Apple III.

The Apple Lisa.

The Apple Newton.


iPod HiFi.

Shall I continue?  (If you are wondering what the heck I am referring to…check this out.)

As for Ford, after his first two attempts at commercial auto-making failed, Henry Ford found success with the Ford Motor Company, established in 1903.

Perhaps Henry should have worded the question differently? 🙂

After all, great market research requires one to gather the right data from the right sources in order for it to be properly analyzed so it becomes useful information that drives better decision making.


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