This is a sixth part in a series on ‘Getting the Most From Your Marketing Research’ from guest blogger Chris Bonney of Bonney & Company. Bonney & Company is a full-service marketing research firm, providing a full range of custom marketing research services to businesses, government agencies and organizations in the non-profit sector.

between the linesIt would seem that research is as simple as just going out and asking people questions. But it’s really not that simple. There are conditions you need to know about:

  • Despite their best intentions, people are often the most inaccurate tellers of their own life stories. Don’t expect them to remember everything, to get the dates right, or to be above “editing” their histories to remove unpleasant episodes.
  • Consumers can’t tell you what they’re going to do. (They can only tell you what they think they’re going to do.)
  • They can’t tell you what they want because they haven’t seen what can be yet.
  • Most people almost always prefer the familiar to the new. This condition is even more prevalent in the current economy.
  • Media recall questions are among the most notoriously inaccurate questions of all.
  • If you want real understanding, you’ve got to get close to the consumer.
  • You’ve got to understand context of their lives.
  • You have to listen to what is said and what isn’t being said.
  • You have to look “between the lines.”

Photo credit: .: Philipp Klinger :.

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