Advertisers’ Love-Hate Relationship With Research

Posted on 25. Sep, 2007 by in iGrok Research

On a recent weekend The Professor sat in quiet fascination and was shaking his head when the following ad on cable concluded. The Professor won’t get it absolutely correct -the copy is from memory:

“We at (large soft drink company) don’t think much of surveys (animated company logo symbolically gives the boot to a clipboard), but recently saw a big important survey that showed more people drink (one of their brands) than any other (brand of that type). Gee were we wrong about surveys”.

The Professor happens to know that this company, across all divisions, has one of the largest market research budgets (read: surveys) in the Fortune 500. So the ad is disingenuous. But it may illustrate an important point. There is always another pundit (e.g., Malcom Gladwell), or a business editor (with column space to fill, in the days before column space started disappearing) writing about how research doesn’t work, no one cooperates, the surveys are wrong, and so on.

So you get the large advertiser above saying they really don’t like surveys (they want you to scoff at surveys like they believe the general public does), but hey wait, we like this one because it makes us look good, so we should all believe in surveys again. Our belief is that they can’t have it both ways- you believe in the validity of surveys or you don’t.

Here at C.A. Walker we have conducted hundreds of thousands of surveys with consumers, with the results being of profitable benefits to hundreds of companies. The survey process is respectful of participants, we adhere to the standards and practices of national survey research organizations, and the results are quality checked multiple times.

Don’t think much of surveys? Look again, we ask.

To contact The Professor, email Dr. Kevin Gentry, Group Vice President at C.A. Walker Research Solutions.

    The Professor has a doctorate in Social Psychology from the University of Southern California, and has been practicing market research for many years.

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