Market Research and Marketing Blindness


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The market research industry is populated by intelligent, inquisitive individuals who love to label, segment and organize information. These characteristics are of great value in the research process, but they’ve also tended to get in the way of providing marketers with the kind of insights they most need.

The market research industry has created a series of silos into which client issues are placed; for example there are pricing research experts who do nothing but pricing research, there are customer satisfaction experts who focus solely on satisfaction measurement, and there exist individuals who spend their days figuring out the best way to track consumer perceptions of brands. Each area of expertise has a methodology that they lean on, a structured way to think about the problem and a research tool to address it. The challenge to this paradigm is that the business world is increasingly fluid; rarely is it the case any longer that a client problem can be readily allocated to a specific ‘bucket’.

One of the clearest examples of this lies in two of the largest areas of the research industry i.e. the tracking of customer satisfaction and the tracking of brand perception. In almost all market research firms these two types of work are run by different teams, using different tools and with almost no connection to one another whatsoever. In consequence, clients are being badly short changed.

Our research, embodied in the Relationship Investment Model (RIM), shows clearly that how we experience a brand, (i.e. what we typically measure in customer satisfaction work), is influenced by what we bring to that experience, (i.e. the perceptions we’ve formed about the brand). The opposite is also true; every experience we have with a brand shapes the perceptions we have of that brand. By failing to connect the worlds of customer experience and brand perception the research industry has failed to cast a clear light for marketers on one of the key dynamics at work in the consumers’ experience of their brands. And this dynamic, (the interaction between perception and experience), turns out to be one of the most important in predicting future customer behaviors.

RIM fills this knowledge gap. In RIM we have created a system of measurement that covers and connects both customer experience and brand perceptions and even more importantly, we have done so in a way that is tied directly to the variable that all marketers care most about, i.e. consumer behavior. RIM provides accurate predictions of which customers will buy again and which will not, under any circumstances; which customers can be influenced to buy again and how and which competitor customers to target and how.

RIM is a system based in the reality of the fluid world that marketers now live in. It’s grounded, it’s powerful and it’s ahead of its time. The rest of the research world needs to wake up and smell the coffee. The time for change had already arrived.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kevin Schulman
Twelve plus yrs of market research and analytics applied to customer acquisition, retention and consumer equity.


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