But what really fascinates me is when, like last night, an episode of MasterChef can serve as an advertisement for the importance of market research.
If you didn’t see it, the final challenge of the night pitted Red Team vs. Blue Team in true Gordon Ramsay style to cook the best hamburger for hungry truckers. The truckers determined the winning team by voting in true trucker style – by pulling a would-be air horn cord rigged to a counter.
But the really interesting part was what happened in each of the teams.
Red Team began as a complete disaster, producing a product that frankly never made it to market. Their burgers wouldn’t cook, wouldn’t stay together, and couldn’t even make it onto a bun let alone be eaten.
Blue Team, by contrast, had their plans perfected into a tried-and-true recipe and produced a consistent product right out of the gate.
Then the fun began.
Red Team, under the emerging leadership of Sharone, broke all the rules. Actually, that’s not quite right. They realized the rules Blue Team was apparently playing by weren’t actually rules at all.
Red Team didn’t just get their act together, they changed their recipe. And when that worked, they made it better. And when things were going great, they made it better still. (How do you make a trucker burger great? Dip it in bacon grease and double the size. Yum.)
While Blue Team, under the emerging “leadership” of Jake stood still and stuck to their product, Red Team 1) Found out what their customers liked about their products, 2) Made it better, and 3) Introduced new features to make it better still.
Call it artificial constraints. Call it stubbornness. Blue Team got stuck in it. Red Team broke free, reinvented themselves multiple times within the span of one meal service, and came back to win.
My favorite moment: Even after they lost, Jake of the Blue Team said, “We had the better hamburger.” If only I a dollar for every business owner who decided what their customers want without consulting them and gone out of business with their convictions intact.
What assumptions do you make about your customers and their desires? How do you know those assumptions are fact-based?
Most importantly, what steps can you take right now to begin separating fact from fiction?