There is none. Because data can be manipulated and edited and customized into any form shape and thing. Most scientific data collection processes work with sponsors that require insights and sometimes even conclusions. They outsource core/non-core processes to consultants or worse – other agencies, and the data, once gone through myriad of varying upper management and their own respective biases, is open to interpretation. I say this not from personal experience (maybe I do), but also from research.
1. Fewer than half of 100 studies of 2008, were replicable
2. Referencing Daniel Kahnaman’s letter to scientists
3. TV Ratings by Nielsen Had Errors for Months
Keep in mind, this is only an accusation, on which I am basing my argument. I maybe 100% wrong and piranhas and puppies can be best friends.
Just the level of bullshit that goes into forming conclusions about consumer psychology, sociology and even economy fails the catch up to gossip columns and cosmopolitan surveys.
Research, in its entirety is difficult. Even Dan Ariely ( every marketer’s favorite psychologist) has some amazing miscalculations in judgement. (Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy to Death. he’s a rockstar). Especially, his argument of ripping bandages.
Now, the question is clear, how do we want to form culture moving forward. This is important to ask, as it directly relates to marketing. Consumers feel certain emotions that are ABCD, and their desires are XYZ. If we aren’t aware of their responses to stimuli 123, then we can damn well be sure about their desires XYZ. We can test this using a cheap Neurosky headset and some EEG reports about how much of an impact certain niches have on mass culture, and vice versa. We can also test how great of an impact stimuli has on certain people, and form strategies that way. We can be and do great things with marketing and then acheive results that are based on those specific parameters. I.e. a marketing campaign or market research data collected for Levis won’t be the same as for Ralph Lauren, even though the sample size might be the same.
The Sample Size
At what level can we be happy with our results? Can we really trust self-reported data? Never & No are the right answers to those questions. Now, the problem with sample studies is that generally people are vastly different from one another. Even inside one niche, (say gaming), there are varying personas of individuals that need to be captured for profitability and for qualitative v/s quantitative data. All in all, people may have similar interests but their interests can vary with their own past experiences and biases. E.g. a hardcore GTAV gamer may hate WoW games because of a bad incident that he had while being trolled online thus making him/her get the emotion of neutrality with sadness confused. Can you trust online surveys? – Hell no!
Finland & Taiwan. Self Reported Data. Mass aggregation. 700 People. I hate this research
I absolutely hate this article that went viral last year. Looking at this, Nike should focus on Contempt to spike the feeling in consumers’ feet and that would get them going to buy shoes.
Fuck data. Data is impure, and it hurts. Its like the car salesman who refuses to sell the car, but sells the fantasy of what the car could be. There are so many assumptions, conclusions, hypotheses, that make you go – what the fuck is going on. People consider knowledge and information to be power, they won’t be letting it go to some research so easily. Its all a mirage that one day will be hyper customized into each organization’s faculty. Imagine that, one research department per organization per customer base. We’ll have positions such as – Chief Consumer Insights Officer, who’ll look at online data patterns and become aware of his own short comings 6 months later, when he realizes that he hasn’t spoken to a real life customer in 3 years. Data is data. People are data, but insights are insights – which stand the test of time, until a scientist proves them wrong in 2015 and goes wild with PR outreach.
I leave you with this last thought – what do you want your brand to be? Be that.