Market Research as the scapegoat
Clearly the premise of this book (i.e. blaming market research for bad business mistakes) is unlikely to sit well with any practising market researcher and therefore it was difficult to stomach at times. However, there is merit in some of the points Philip makes, such as the need to; focus on behaviours , the importance of context and the importance of the subconscious mind on decision-making. But overall, it felt that many of the arguments were actually quite naïve and indeed misleading, and that some of the case studies were potentially based on hearsay (rather than the full story) – blaming research for the outcome rather than the hundreds of other factors that can lead to the demise of a product launch or marketing campaign.
Importance of Behavioural Economics
Chapter 2 is one of my favourite chapters because it taps into the important area of Behavioural Economics (BE). It includes topics such as Loss Aversion, Social Proof and Mental Fluency. There are many facets to BE and all researchers and marketers should ensure they are well versed with these concepts. Armed with these ideas it is a lot easier to understand the world and make better decisions and recommendations. I would recommend Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely and The Choice Factory by Richard Shotton.
The Consumer in context:
Chapter 3. Another good chapter, which is titled ‘The Consumer in Context”. This makes an important point about the context of the research and how advertising and product choices are influenced by the environment in which they are tested. The important lesson here is that research should be as realistic as possible. For example, undertaken where advertising and products are most likely to be consumed or bought. Looking at your brand in isolation is a bit of a meaningless context and it is important that the broader market context and brand options are always taken into consideration within a research exercise.