5 Misunderstandings About Market Research That Would Help You Stop Misunderstanding


We’ve been in this industry a long time. Longer than we really want to admit. And we’ve heard many objections to conducting research that are pretty easily overcome. We’re here is to assure you that consumer or customer research is your friend.


So if you’re a brand manager, if you’re a start-up, please keep in mind that good research can help identify opportunities and pitfalls that your brand may be facing. It’s easy to scrutinize the budget and “just say no” to dollars that aren’t directly impacting your product. But we’ve seen too many instances where this decision comes back to bite people. The old adage “pay a little now or pay more later” holds true if you’re stuck trying to optimize communication for a product or a package while it’s already out there for the world to see and experience.


Let’s get to some myth-busting, shall we?


  • Too Pricey, Too Costly, Too Much Money

A very reasonable thought. “What is the price of risk?” is the question to ask yourself and your team. Having 50% or even 80% more confidence in your product, your brand, your website is really invaluable. And you may be working off incorrect assumptions regarding the price of qualitative and quantitative these days. Many advances in technology have allowed easier access to respondents. A good insights partner will be able to determine the best approach for your learning objectives and find a cost-effective way to get you the info you need.


  • It Takes Way Too Long, Way Way Too Long

If you’re not often in the research world, you may be unaware of new techniques that can gather insights very quickly. For instance, we use a quantitative tool that fields surveys twice weekly, so data get turned around almost immediately. Certainly, some methodologies are still time-consuming, but if you need speedy inputs, don’t count research out.


  • We Pretty Much Know What There Is to Know

Motivations are not that easy to find or understand. Humans are prone to rational explanations. If prospects have told you your offering is too expensive, that could really mean that it looks too complicated for their team to use or that their relationship with the salesperson is not nearly as warm and friendly as it should be. We can get far beyond the superficial because we know the right questions to ask and the right ways to probe for depth of response. Also, what you knew yesterday may not be accurate today. Keep your finger on the pulse so that you can monitor changes in the marketplace.


  • Online Focus Groups Aren’t As Good As Old-School In-Person Focus Groups, or Vice Versa for That Matter

As an organization that does plenty of online focus groups and plenty of in-person focus groups, we can tell you there’s a time and a place for both. Online groups are super handy when you’d like representation across the U.S. They also allow for many different kinds of input, from posting photos and videos to fill-in-the-blank exercises to marking up concepts on a whiteboard. In addition, follow-up questions regarding potentially sensitive topics can be tackled in a one-on-one manner. This was particularly helpful in groups we conducted among people that had used public assistance. In-person groups really allow you to view body language and to build rapport between the moderator and the participants, as well as among the participants themselves. If one participant hears a person being very disclosing, they may be more disclosing in return. Interactive exercises and techniques can be used, and feedback on choices made can be gathered in the moment. For example, one may ask participants to build collages related to the home of the future. As they’re selecting their images, the moderator can probe in real time for the meaning behind each.


  • We Can Do Our Own Darn Research

Maybe some of you are very adept at conducting research. But it’s beneficial to bring in a seasoned pro who can help you avoid bias, who stays current on new methodologies (there are so many!) and who will push you to ask the most meaningful questions for your business. Those of us who work across multiple categories have learned a lot that can transfer from totally disparate industries to give you the competitive edge your business needs.



If you’ve muttered any of these things to yourself, we hope that we’ve sparked your interest in using a partner to dig into consumer or customer research. You may see the world in a brand new way.