Is there any other profession where we would tolerate someone deciding which tool to use before they knew what the job was? What would you say to someone trying to use a saw to hang a picture on a wall? Would you be confident in a doctor who brought only a stethoscope to diagnose an unknown illness?
Surprisingly this back-to-front process happens in consumer research, and despite its prevalence, it is equally wrong. It is not uncommon to hear that a quantitative study is required, prices are agreed and following that questionnaires are to be developed to find the missing information.
What is wrong with this?
Let’s look at the issue another way. Research is just like every other profession in that there is always a range of possible tools to achieve a defined objective. While several research tools may work, some will be more efficient and effective, and others will make the job more difficult.
To ensure that we are using the right research tool at the right time, it is crucial to fully define the objective first. This step can seem so obvious that it is often skipped but in consumer research, a clear objective maximises the usefulness of the project and the efficiency of the budget.
Some research objectives we have achieved for clients have included:
Only when we have a clear set of research objectives, is it appropriate to determine the best course of action to achieve those objectives. It should always be objective, then strategy.
What’s the alternative? If using the wrong research tool can lead to misdiagnosis and damaging consequences – there is no alternative. For help with clarifying research objectives and reaching the right research strategy, talk to CARD Group.