Asking the wrong questions gives you the wrong answers!

A very large part of market research is based on asking people questions, for example in surveys, focus groups, depth interviews, and online discussions. In general, people are very willing to answer our questions, but the problem is that they will do it even when they can’t give us the right answer. At IIeX last week Jan Hofmeyr shared the results of some research where respondents had been asked about which brand they buy most often and he compared it to their last 3 and last 6 purchases from audit data. He found that in the last 3 purchases 68% of people had not bought the product they claimed to buy ‘most often’, and in the last 6 purchases 58% of people had not bought their ‘most often’ brand. The video below is designed for entertainment, but it illustrates the bogus answer problem really well: There are two key reasons why asking questions can produce bogus answers: Social desirability bias. People are inclined to try to show themselves in the best possible light. Ask them how often they clean their teeth and they are going to want to give an answer that makes them look good, or at least does […]