Published on February 23, 2008
is qual holding us back? 22.02.08 jason oke head of planning juniper park
does research provide its own roi?
“over 50% of the research done at companies is wasted. they’re asked to do things that, even if the research project is perfect, it won't be useful. it’s covering-your-butt kind of thinking.” – bob barocci ceo, advertising research foundation adage, sept 24 2007
“[research] is this huge industry of billions of dollars that anyone basically can do.” – alison zelen director of consumer & market insights, unilever adage, sept 24 2007
“it’s like the hole in the ozone layer. everyone knows it’s a growing problem. but they just ignore it and go on to the next project.” – shari morwood vp-worldwide market research, ibm adage, october 2 2006
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
three issues facing qual today 1 we haven’t kept up with culture 2 we haven’t kept up with science 3 we’re not vigilant enough about how it’s used
1 we haven’t kept up with culture
getting the chance to give feedback to a company used to be interesting.
now it’s assumed.
response rates are low it’s hard to recruit decent respondents is it any wonder?
today, research is a brand touchpoint but most market research is a highly negative brand experience
communication needs to engage and provide value… why is research any different?
“the core problem is one of relevance and value. if more research were relevant and provided value back to participants, then more people would be participating. it’s pure economics and incentives.” – max kalehoff, nielsen
“it’s a symptom of the horribly compartmentalised way most of us do our jobs that we can spend half our day thinking of delicious and imaginative ways to delight our audience. and then, in the next meeting, we round up some of the best and most inﬂuential customers, shove them in a dreary room for a couple of hours, confuse them with obtuse questions and odd drawings and then sent them on their way with £20 on the one hand we’re trying our hardest to be persuasive and seductive, on the other we’re strip- mining people’s heads.” - russell davies former global strategy director, nike campaign, august 30, 2007
what can we learn from culture? people will enjoy contributing … when it’s fun & interesting … when they get to be creative … when it’s interactive
“imaginative research design can be like great video game design; you can get respondents into a ﬂow state, having purposeful fun with their answers, enjoying their experience with you, not noticing the time ﬂying by. this not only gets you the answers you want, it leaves people liking you more. in a world where our customers are lining up to share their opinions anyway, imaginative research will this kind of soon be all that anyone’s going to pay for.” - russell davies
ethnography observation projective games storytelling
2 we haven’t kept up with science
research tends to assume 1. people are aware of their behaviour/needs/wants/motivations 2. people can access and describe those things to others … neither is particularly true
we ask people questions they can’t answer
“the consumer does not behave as they say, they do not say what they think and they do not think what they feel” - david ogilvy
Hang in there,baby!!!
“too much analysis can confuse people about how they really feel. there are severe limits to what we can discover through self-reﬂection.” timothy wilson university of virginia new york times, dec 29 2005
making you think about a choice unconsciously changes your answer
towards cautious safe familiar choices because they are easier to explain
so we are often highly skeptical of new ideas the ﬁrst time we see them
“you simply can’t research your way to everything and here’s why: consumers prefer the familiar and can have a hard time accepting the unexpected… but consumers are not always right.” scott bedbury ex-cmo nike & starbucks Advertising Age, May 1 2006
but all of this isn’t necessarily a problem the problem is taking the answers at face value
3 we’re not vigilant enough in ensuring research is used properly
what people say vs what people mean
the questions we want answered vs the questions we ask
part of the problem is how research is used
fear of failure fear of blame inability to make decisions habit history support
“let the consumer decide.”
no one ever got ﬁred for doing “what consumers said we should do”
“one should never simplify or pretend to be sure of such simplicity where there is none. if things were simple, word would have gotten around.” jacques derrida
we all know better. we know when we’re doing ‘bad’ research.
“researchers are to blame too… for not pushing back, or at least not disclosing what the quality trade-offs will be from low bids and rushed timelines.” – bob barocci ceo, advertising research foundation
researchers clients agencies
build bridges to your partners don’t just wait for a project to come up discuss this when there’s nothing urgent looming
we all need to work together to stick up for better research the people who can make the biggest difference are in this room
it’s not rocket science we need to say “no” more often “… we can’t do it that way, and here’s why”
we need to educate our colleagues that our brains are good at some things and bad at others
we are good at associating understanding
we are bad at explaining & describing what we want what we like like and why we do things
we need to get beyond self- reported descriptions & explanations
it doesn’t need to be complicated
ask less observe more learn from culture & science make it fun again ﬁght for good research
and hang in there, baby
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