I love research, I really do. In fact i’m sort of obsessed by it. I love listening to views of different people, I love looking at the breakdowns based on demographics, areas, or toothpaste use. I love focus groups. I love sitting there slack-jawed as eight pre-screened target consumers can’t describe a competition mechanic or missed a message we promoted every fifteen messages for a week. I love the brutality of it all.
Reseach gets lots of knocks. Mainly by people who’ve never done any. They often get caught up in thinking that what they think is what other people think. They’re usually wrong.
Research is best when taken in context and used as a tool, amongst some others – like actually doing some thinking. There’s been a couple of interesting posts recently, Ken Norton talks about segmenting who your consumers are and combining different aspects of their response to get a decent view of a product and Kathy Sierra has a great view about how the views of consumers are merely one part of the puzzle.