A Call For A Moratorium

I’m calling for a moratorium. I want market research firms to stop releasing research statistics on consumers’:

  1. Channel preferences, and
  2. Trust in friends and family’s recommendations over advertising.

I could fill a couple of pages with links to these studies, but why should I? They all say the same thing: Consumers prefer the Web for a lot of interactions, the phone for others, and in-person for some things, too. What a surprise. So what should marketers do with this data? Stop providing services across channels?

And who would have guessed that consumers put greater trust in what their friends say than what advertisers tell them? (Is my sarcasm showing?) This is hardly a recent phenomenon. So should marketers stop advertising that their prices and service are superior to the competition’s simply because current customers might get the word out for them?

Marketers need research that helps them understand the interrelationships between elements of the marketing mix. That consumers prefer one channel to another isn’t helpful unless we know how the interaction of channels impacts customer satisfaction and buying behavior.

And telling us (for the gazillionth time) that consumers trust their family/friends’ recommendations isn’t actionable unless we know how often consumers get family/friends’ advice and how that advice is evaluated in the context of other sources of information.

The fact that their “insights” into customer attitudes are completely useless to marketers doesn’t seem to stop research firms (not to mention other firms who commission these studies) from releasing these stats. After all, it generates PR for them. I’m OK with that. I just wish the stats provided some new — and actionable — insights into consumer behavior and attitudes.

That’s why I’m calling for a moratorium. Are you with me?

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