tangor - 6:47 pm on Dec 16, 2011 (gmt 0)
Market research and focus groups can be equally expensive.
One of my clients asked a similar question, "How can I find out what my users want?" I suggested get feedback. He did not want a comments section for UGC. I agreed... then said what I meant was a "Letter to the Editor" function... either a real email at the website address "firstname.lastname@example.org" or an input form, non-visible to the public but which generated a thank you email to the submitter. This eventually became a fair source of ideas for the client with little cost to implement. Of course, there was the usual amount of spam sent to the "letters", but time and programming reduced that significantly.
If you want to know what your audience wants, you have to ask them. And give them a way to tell you.