Preview: New eBooks on market research

Good news, true believers!  This week, I have not one, but two new ebooks for you!  I’ve decided to share my experience in developing, executing and interpreting both primary and secondary market research.

Now, here’s the bad news.  The ebooks are, well, full of it.

BS1     BS2

(special thanks to Jamie Leo, human extraordinaire, for the illustration)

Great marketing always begins with great audience insight.  Unfortunately, people don’t always say exactly what they mean.  Nor do research reports and published articles that you find online always mean what you think.  To separate the good information from the bad, every good marketer also needs to have a good BS detector, and I’ll help you fine-tune yours.

For the next two weeks, I’ll share the juiciest bits from my ebooks to give you a peek inside.  Please share and enjoy.

Here’s an excerpt from the primary research ebook (part 1) on one of the reasons respondents don’t always tell the whole truth in focus groups and surveys:

We fail to tell the truth to spare others’ feelings

If you’ve ever watched focus groups, you’ve heard the moderator say at the beginning that he or she doesn’t work for the company under discussion.  This preamble allows respondents to bad-mouth the company without making them feel like they’re costing someone a job.  
Accordingly, marketing researchers in any modality should try to avoid asking questions that:

  • Appear to elicit a personal criticism from respondents, especially a criticism of the questioner.
  • Force respondents to criticize a brand they respect or even love.  Mac owners, for instance, might never criticize a Mac even if they had a problem with it.  (Mac guys are weird that way.)

Instead, try to ask questions in such a way that respondents feel entitled to criticize something.  Thus:

“What’s wrong with this app?” becomes “In a perfect world, how would this app look?” or “If you had to improve this app, what would you do?”

“Do you like this brand?” becomes “What do you like and dislike about this brand?”

In the case of quantitative research, the anonymity of a survey tends to nullify concerns about hurting someone else’s feelings (we will see below that this anonymity does not extend to self-criticism).  Naturally, phone surveys or in-person surveys need to use similar language as the focus groups to ensure that the respondent does not feel beholden to the questioner.

Want to read more?  Email me at for your copy.




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