What you think? What the marketplace thinks about what you think?
Or purely by what the marketplace thinks?
Senior management at most of the companies we work for are challenging brand teams to “think like a customer.” This type of market orientation was captured way back in the early 80’s in the phrase “living in the shoes of the consumer.” In order to “think like a customer,” marketers have to gather customer insights based on “what the customer really feels and thinks without only being guided by what marketers think they think.” This type of insight is very difficult to gather with direct question formats or attitude studies that tell people how to feel and then ask them to agree or disagree. This difficulty exists regardless of the research vehicle, face to face interviews, telephone interviews or web based questionnaires. The reason “what the market really feels and thinks” is difficult to gather is because, when faced with a direct question, people respond through overly conscious rationalization. In the case of agree or disagree, and scale-type questions or attitudinal presentations, there is a lack of space for respondents to express their feelings and thoughts. Finally, in the case of presenting presupposed statements/ideas, while respondents can evaluate the presupposed statements they are rarely able to bring forward thoughts that may not be represented in the presupposed statements. Marketers should continue to bring their ideas and presuppositions to the marketplace, but gathering a “purer” marketplace insight is equally important and can change the face of any strategy and tactical plan.
Brain Surgery insights are gathered through context, but the right survey experience is equally important. The outcome is true feelings and thoughts from the customers’ perspective.