What did you think of the play, Mrs Lincoln?


As the events of the past 24 hours have shown, customer research consistently gives answers that are just plain wrong – a phenomenon not restricted to predicting the next tenant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

There are 2 reasons for this:

1. We are not our audience

Marketers are not normal. We live in a bubble and see the world through the lens of our brand. 

No normal person does this. 

Marketers are not representative of our audience yet we project our assumptions based on an interpretation of an over-simplified ‘persona’. We tend to ask questions about what’s important to us, not what matters to our customer.

2. People don’t actually know why they do what they do

The wealth of research that’s recently been done on customer psychology and behavioural economics all points to the conclusion that not only do people behave in ways that often seem irrational but that they can’t explain why they really act in the way they do. 

This means that the answer to a seemingly rational question about how I intend to behave often bears no relation to what I actually end up doing.


So, isn’t it time to stop wasting money asking questions that are bound to give misleading answers and start actively engaging with and listening to our customers?


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