Bad Market Research: Today I’m Completing a Survey

Every now and then I receive an invitation to complete an on-line survey.  They’re normally hopelessly poor tools at understanding real consumer motivations.  They interrogate the wrong part of the respondent’s mind (the conscious mind) and unwittingly influence the part they should be targeting (the unconscious mind). So today, I thought that, as I plod through the survey, I would include a running commentary of what’s bad, just in case anyone else is thinking of running an on-line survey any time soon.  The First Few Questions A few classification questions to see where I live, when I was born, to check that I watch television (the subject of the research) and to check that I’m not involved in marketing, market research, journalism, advertising, public relations or television: arguably I’m involved in all of these but, just like any other respondent, I’ll be ticking the answers that suit my purpose: “None of these”. Questions […]

The Olympics, the Football Clubs and the Bad Market Research

The Olympic Park Legacy Committee board will soon be making a final decision on exactly what should happen to the stadium after the 2012 London Olympics.  At the heart of the debate is the question of whether a football club should be allowed to take over the stadium and what provision will exist for athletics if they do. As is so often the case, someone (in this case the BBC), decided that it would be a good idea to find out the opinions of the public.  The results have subsequently been reported in a way that would appear to anyone reading them as facts.  Unfortunately they are nothing of the sort. The questionnaire was very short, but nevertheless made several critical mistakes that introduced bias to the results (none of which were presented alongside the results in the media). Firstly, despite my best efforts, I have been unable to find […]

Market Research Recruitment: Be Honest

People aren’t desperately honest creatures.  Through no fault of our own we’re victims of the way our brains have evolved; it’s wise not to take the things people claim at face value. Among the many issues affecting market research the quality of respondent recruitment is reasonably frequently debated.  It’s not something I got into in Consumer.ology mostly because even when you recruit the “right” people, asking them questions throws up a whole world of other issues.   However, over the last couple of days I’ve had a fascinating insight into the recruitment process and can, at no charge to the market research industry, offer them a high quality recruitment tool.  I was contacted by a television network who wanted to interview me about a story that has been in the news regularly over the past few weeks; the cost of filling your car with petrol (or diesel).  Prices have risen substantially over the past few weeks and since […]