4 Reasons Not To Rely On Market Research Alone

I was freezing my tush off a couple of weeks ago at Wrigley Field and inquired to my good friend why he had made the unlikely (in my mind, at least) switch from marketing to insurance. It seemed to me that he was turned off by the manipulative and predictive nature of old-school marketing - as though statistics and market research would tell exactly how someone would behave.

Then, just yesterday, I read both David Oglivy’s chapter "18 Miracles of Research" in On Advertising and Hank Williams’ post Who Needs Market Research. The stars seem aligned to answer a few questions about market research, including: Why can I not rely solely on market research and how can the online channel help?David Ogilvy

Sure, research is helpful to some extent. As Ogilvy said, "Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals. (pg. 158)" But you are making a severe mistake if you expect focus groups, polls, and testing to divine your strategy like a Magic 8-ball.

Market research (especially customer-focused research) must be taken with a sizable grain of proverbial salt. Here are three reasons why:

1. While I think there is some use of market research, I agree with Hank Williams’ hypothesis that content and experience are much more important. People cannot articulate an experience they’ve never had. Focus on producing good content and a good experience - not whether people claim that they understand how they think they will respond to a hypothetical situation. And even if you have the product or advertisement, do you really think people will respond the same way to it during a focus group at the mall as they would in their own homes?

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2 Comments

  • Eric Brandenburg

    Oups...
    Just want to say that online way is definitely the best way to use today. First of all it is cheaper for everyone. Second of all, respondents are far more honest replying to surveys online, on their own than over the phone or in front of someone in the street, no doubt!

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  • Eric Brandenburg

    --
    Starting a business? Launching a new product or service?
    Test the market first!

    Marketest
    Starting a business? Launching a new product or service?
    Test the market first!

    Marketest
    <img src="http://www.marketest.co.uk/petitlogo.jpg">
    Market research