Legal Publishing’s Abandoned Ship Drifts Through the Doldrums

Over at Slaw, McKay and Rodrigues discuss the ditches into which market research often plunges, legal publishing’s disconnect from its customers, and the obsession with technology (and technicians) over editorial substance.

McKay: “I wonder if I’m correct in thinking that it (legal publishing) used to be enormously pleasurable, rewarding and creative but now appears, with some exceptions, to be desperately dull? Its dullness is reflected in its lack of innovation, its shift away from new product development and its failure to excite and engage with its customers and with its own people.”

Rodrigues covers the various errors encountered in customer research, such as that type of research that we might consider feigned market research:

“During my career, I observed any number of surveys or questionnaires used to develop new products and redevelop existing ones. In my experience, rarely did these surveys or questionnaires generate meaningful input from customers regarding product development. To me at least it seemed as if this method of conducting research was more form than substance…Sometimes the research…(occurred) after a product had been developed, to justify what had already been done, when only token changes in the product, if any, were possible. This was particularly true in the case of digital products, where changes resulting from a questionnaire or survey reflected what the developer was capable of doing, rather than what might need to be done to address customer concerns.”

Is this customer and publisher malaise due to the abandonment of editorial product development as McKay and Rodriguez suggest in their various columns?

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