ORLANDO: T-Mobile, the wireless provider, is focusing its research efforts on the drivers of choice rather than solely addressing the "wants and needs" of US consumers, a strategy which is helping the firm fuel its rapid growth.

Mike Sievert, the organisation's evp/chief marketing officer, discussed this topic while speaking about the brand's "Uncarrier" positioning at the ANA's 2014 Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando.

"It's important not to get obsessed with studying wants and needs," he said. (For more, including how the firm is transforming its category, read Warc's exclusive report: T-Mobile transforms its brand … and revolutionises an industry.)

By prioritising these areas, he suggested, marketers are often seeking merely to support "common sense" ideas with data, instead of truly getting to grips with the motivators shaping shopper decisions in actuality.

This gap is similar to that between reported behaviour, or what buyers say they do, and the underlying factors that finally determine their purchases – and T-Mobile gives more weight to this matter than wants and needs.

"About 90% of market research in a company is a complete waste of money; millions of dollars wasted," said Sievert.

T-Mobile thus turns the usual research formula upside down, Sievert informed the Masters of Marketing delegates.

"What we do at T-Mobile is figure out what drives choice in our industry at the moments of truth," he said.

These moments include, "when somebody's trying to decide, 'Who will I at least consider if I'm going to enter into the market?' 'Am I going to consider T-Mobile?' And, when it's time to decide, 'Who am I going to choose?' That's what we obsess about. That's what we research."

One example of this strategy in action is the seventh iteration of the "Uncarrier" program, which provides full mobile phone functionality as long as a consumer has a WiFi connection.

This offering, Sievert suggested, deals with two fundamental issues of primary interest when selecting a network: "Will it work at my house?" and "Is it going to work at my place of work?"

Data soured from Warc