Market Research: Perception Versus Reality

It’s often claimed in market research circles that perception is everything. I suspect this stems from the thought that, provided the customer perceives things as being good then that is what matters, be it customer service, product quality, your brand’s image. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a really stupid way of thinking about consumers. Let me explain… In one sense, perceptions are all that customers have to provide in market research. Life isn’t absolute when you’re living it. For example, I’ve been having some lower back ache (too much time spent writing in a bad chair) and have been treating it with a physiotherapist and lots of exercises. Unlocking my lower back has caused other parts of my back to react and the other night I turned over and stretched at night and managed to pull a muscle higher up my back. Now, at the moment, my […]

Market Research Failures: How Foolish We Are

So here’s the thing. If I convinced you that crossing the road without looking was a wonderful, amazing, liberating, life-transforming experience, and I mean really convinced you so that you believed it, what would happen? You would take your first attempt with extreme nervousness, shaking with fear, but you would probably make it across the road just fine. With your senses heightened you wouldn’t really be using your new-found faith in traversing streets with total disregard for what was passing: no you would heighten your other senses until you were certain it was safe and then over you would go. Of course, after a while, if I’d done a really good job and kept reinforcing the message, you would start to foster the genuine belief that you didn’t need to look to cross the road.  After all, you’ve now got my enthusiastic message – and I’d tell you about how […]

Democracy Mudered by an Opinion Poll

Once upon a time there was a country. They were having a very difficult time indeed.  Some greedy goblins had got out of control and now everyone in the land was troubled.  The money that the greedy goblins had taken had somehow disappeared, some said they had taken money that never existed, and now everyone was having to repay it whether it ever existed or not. Everyone except the goblins that is, who had somehow found a way to get more money  for themselves – but that’s another  story. Anyway, the country had a democratic process of sorts, of which it was most proud.  And in the midst of the “difficult time” it replaced one leader with another one, who thought things should be done a little differently.  This was done through something called “voting”, where those who wanted to shape what the country did explained their ideas and then […]

Market Research Saved My Life Again

As I mentioned last time, I’ve only once found an impromptu use for my understanding of consumer behaviour and consumer psychology, and I certainly never anticipated that a situation might arise where market research might make a difference between life and death. But that just shows how little I know. Recently, the UK government has announced that 10% of hospital (NHS Trust) funding will be dependent on patient satisfaction levels.  To put that in financial terms, that could mean around £10billion of expenditure will be dependent on patient satisfaction. And here’s the thing.  This is, in my opinion, the most profoundly stupid example of using market research that I have ever encountered: it’s going to result in lives being lost. Let’s go back a few years, before any of us had heard of MRSA or any of the other so-called super-bugs that are resistant to antibiotics and kill people. How […]