It is now clear that the human brain is immensely complex and interconnected with much of its work unknowable and mysterious. This is hard for us to accept as individuals, including myself, and continues to be hard for the market research industry to accept.too Perhaps that is why very little fundamental change has occurred.
While there have been great leaps in the technological interfaces used to collect data from research participants (and hurray that 2014 finally appeared to be the year that mobile data collection really took off), the fundamental processes have not undergone the radical changes that they need. Read more »
Reading Research Live’s interview with Steve Phillips (see here) prompted me to think again about the future of market research, and more specifically about customised quantitative research which is the backbone of the majority of global research agencies. Along with two other website’s Zappistore might hold the key to part of the future of market research. Read more »
In the latest issue of Research, Gill Wales writes about the standard of market research reports and it’s depressing reading (link here). The article, ‘Will this do?’, cites examples of where market research companies fail to deliver value and suggests that the problem is endemic. I agree based on what I see in my work, and it’s a topic that has come up frequently in this blog (for example in “Show me the money” and “5 questions every innovative researcher needs to ask”. Read more »
In Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman provides a comprehensive and readable summary of how we all make decisions (probably the best overview you will ever read). In doing so he completely buries the already tarnished view of human behaviour as ‘homo economicus’ (rational decision maker) and demonstrates clearly and precisely that we are far from paragons of reason. Read more »
Curiosity has it’s own reasons (Einstein)
The lifeblood of market research is curiosity and curiosity is a great thing in all aspects of life (as Einstein said so eloquently on several occasions). Market researchers are very adept (and trained) to ask lots of questions, but I think we ask far too many and should ask far fewer and be smarter in the way we design research in order to do that. Let me be clear from the start. Asking questions in market research is very often at best a waste of time, and at worst positively misleading. Read more »
What will the entry of Google into market research mean for the industry?
Google Consumer Surveys is a deceptively simple product. Limited questions, simple (and low) pricing, and the promise of focused customer feedback. Other DIY tools such as Survey Monkey (which I use regularly), have not yet gained strong traction, perhaps because they lack the access to consumers that is an important part of an agency’s service. Read more »
The future of questions
Everyone likes to make predictions as one year closes and another begins with fresh hopes, although fewer go back to check what they said previously (with some notable exceptions). Rather than make predictions, most of which are guaranteed not to happen, I would like to share a hope for how market research can reinvent itself for the future. In sharing my hope I can also share some of the changes that I believe will happen at some time in the near future (I would never be confident enough to say that it will be in 2012).
My big wish is that market research can start to get beyond its obsession with questions. Read more »
Market research and product testing
The history of product testing is long and can trace its path back to many diverse fields along a similar timespan to that of market research (back to the 1920s when the science was first introduced to manage product quality). Sensory science developed at a fast rate in the 1950s and 1960s, when different techniques for the ‘descriptive analysis’ of products were developed, starting with the flavor profile method, in the fast developments of the consumer goods industries which followed the end of the second world war. The science was boosted by the publication of Stevens’ landmark textbook on psychophysics in the mid-1970s and has come a long way in the last 50 years.
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After watching the world go by for a while, you may still have some unanswered questions which means it may be time to start a conversation with your customers. Although more than 90% of communication is non-verbal, there is a huge amount to be learnt from listening to consumers (and asking the occasional question), especially when this is done in the right way. Read more »
Getting started in research
Last week I was asked to facilitate a workshop for marketing and communication professionals to empower them to build their understanding of consumers through their own investigations. The workshop covered some of the key psychological insights, but focused on practical ways to help them observe, listen and ask questions in a more structured way. The session was great fun, and over the next two articles I can share some of the practical tips I gave them. Today I will focus on observation, which should always come before asking and listening. Read more »