Let me start by saying, My mama raised me right. It just didn’t fully take.
And so I have disrupted more than one meeting with some — shall we say — unpopular assertions about the role of research in marketing and product development. I’m almost always polite*, yet I can’t let pass the opportunity to share my view that research results do not constitute a message from Your Favorite Higher Being Here.
After New Coke, I’m not sure why anyone has to explain this again. There are emotional and group-think elements to human response, and these are difficult to measure with standard business research techniques.
I won’t go on: I’ll just direct you to Ben McAllister‘s great piece in The Atlantic on the dangers of using research to make creative decisions. He agrees there’s an appropriate role for research, but argues that it’s dangerous to assign scientific weight to information that should be viewed as an indicator only.
*About this topic, anyway. No comment about my embarrassing reactions to poor retail customer service.