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Nobody knows anything

The debate about the value of research continues. I’ve been waiting until I saw more than one article debating this – and the one today from Faris Yakob has summed it all up wonderfully in ‘All market research is wrong‘. Full of awesomeness.

Why, well he makes 2 points

1. We don’t know why we do what we do.

2. The gulf between claimed attitudes [and intentions] and actual behavior is vast.

He adds ‘Market research is an $11bn industry in the USA but all the data it generates should be understood as wrong. Now, that doesn’t mean we should get rid of all of it. It can be useful or interesting to understand what people think they think – a throw away comment from a focus group may inspire a brilliant idea – but the data it gives shouldn’t be understood as ‘true’ – it needs to be interpreted’

But this is the important bit ‘we must supplement it with real behavioral data, from direct observation, or from the web – triangulating insights from as many sources as possible.’

Come on Faris. Bang on.

This in addition to this awesome piece in Marketing Week (didn’t expect to write that sentence) in which Tom Woodnutt talks about about making research part of your ‘brand conversation’. Read it. It’s fantastic. To quote shamelessly from it ‘Naturally, there is still a role for research that is independent from the brand. However if we start to pull a more broad, discipline-neutral and inclusive definition of ’brand conversations’ from the marketing box of tricks, then brands could benefit from more efficient and effective insights and more engaged customers’.

Here here.