It’s been a long day full of short presentations, and a few things come to mind.
- I’ve advocated on behalf of people who participate in our surveys for so long that I sometimes feel like a broken record. But today, on numerous occasions, speakers specifically demanded that we treat people like human beings. We might think we’re already doing that but the percentage of people who don’t know what being screened out means says differently. We still write really long surveys and we still write them as if we’re Charles Dickens not J. K. Rowlings. What I heard today is that more and more researchers are starting to think about and talk to research participants as if they are actual human beings. Strange concept. I look forward to seeing this theory become reality.
- The age of marketing products has ended. We are now listening to what people want and trying to respond to those needs. Brands that want to remain relevant and in demand also need to treat people like people. (Is this strange concept a trend?) Let’s remember that most people don’t want a relationship with most of the brands they use. Hey, I don’t even KNOW most of the brands I use. Out of the thousands of brands I use, I only have space to remember a few of them by name. Sorry carpets, tiles, shingles, shelving and more. Just because you want your brand to be everyone’s best friend doesn’t mean they want to.
- Did you know that “Garbage in, garbage out” comes from our good friend Charles Babbage who lived in the 1800s? He actually said something closer to “to put in the wrong data and expect the right answers is absurd.” Well, is YOUR survey/focus group/big data putting in the wrong data? And are you still expecting the right answers? We’re so used to the “garbage in, garbage out” phrase that we automatically discard it as not being relevant to US. But is it? Maybe it’s time to think about it again.
- Can’t say, won’t say is a fun little problem for most surveys and traditional research methods. I would never say I’m racist or sexist or homophobic because I know those things are bad. I also can’t tell you why I like the colour pink and hate the colour black. I can’t and I won’t. These few words are a good reminder that the absolute best methodology is the multi-mode methodology. What can’t be measured with one method will be measureable with another. And don’t think otherwise.
- Please explain this to me. Why do we keep on saying that innovation isn’t coming from market research. Of course it is. If you are in the business of understanding consumer behaviour, you work in market research. I don’t care if you call yourself a techie or a programmer or some funky weird fad title. What is the real problem? Well, people who are in traditional market research paths have defined market research far too narrowly and can’t see the light for their blinders. Is a doctor someone who is skilled in the ancient art of bloodletting, or is it someone who is skilled in healing people? It’s no different with market research. Market researchers focus on consumer behaviour HOWEVER that is measured.
- I learned today that panel companies offer no value because anyone can go online and use DIY services. Well, if panel companies were simply DIY companies, I wouldn’t be interested in them either. In fact, I’d run very quickly from them. You see, I’ve worked on the panel side of full service research companies for quite a few years. I’m the person behind the scenes running data quality processes to evaluate individual responders and determine who is and isn’t earning their keep with engaged and honest answers. I’m the person figuring out new algorithms for generating more representative samples. I’m the person making sure your dataset isn’t a big pile of crap. DIY sampling? I’m all for it. But only if it’s DIY sampling of good quality panelists.
- Lastly, the best conference sales pitch is a great presentation. And a great presentation includes ZERO mentions of your company name. ZERO mentions like “Our companies works hard to….” And ZERO videos about your great products. Great presentations DO include engaging, entertaining, personable research experts. Try it. You’ll like it.