Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bad research does no one good service

I get a lot of surveys. Political ones, Advertising Marketing, Harris Poll, YouGov, and other random lines of questioning. Often the questions themselves have inherent bias (Politics is great for this) or worded incorrectly in ways that fail to capture information.

But sticking with the Advertising/Marketing theme, it makes sense that more product launches fail vs succeed. There are competing reasons for this because of all the groups involved in the process.

Upper Management wants to increase sales, increase share price, etc. Often just mentioning to the market or shareholders 'a pipeline' of new products will help boost share price.

R&D will always have job security if they can pump out success more than failure. They also don't like to tell Management no, yet they also forget NPV and think budgets are bottomless.

Marketing and Sales are incentivized to have work to do when it comes to figuring out new products, product niches and revenue streams. This will require a lot of meetings that often have attendees who don't like meetings. This is usually an EGO play of sorts.

So it is really easy for those involved to con themselves into thinking something is going to be a winner. Hell none of us want to work for a loser, or on loser projects.

And market research can easily be skewed based on the questions asked to fit parameters to make everyone happy.

So I was asked a question:
Are you well traveled?

1] Never been out of the Country
2] Visited up to 5 Countries.
3] Visited more than 5 Countries.

Bad question. What is the purpose? If I visited 40 states and 3 countries in my life, travel 4-5 times per year to different places, I am more well traveled than someone who travels once per year and aside from 6 trips for 7 days each trip over seas, goes to the same resort each year.

Maybe it is to see who might need international products/services. But again I might think the first person more likely to seek new adventures than the second person.

Maybe it is to see who is more worldly, more exposure to different cultures? What if the second person went to England, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and Scotland. While the first person lives in LA, has 40% of their friends from other countries in South/Central America and Asia and travels for work to New Orleans, Mississippi, New York, Boston, Phoenix, and Denver.

Bad Question. Results will mean nothing for most angles.

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