Any new experience involves certain perceptions before even beginning. My internship with Bravo Group is no exception. Because I had not previously taken a marketing research course, my idea of the practice was very much incomplete and consisted of the few stereotypes that I had constructed in my head. For one, I envisioned research today to be solely digital and highly targeted, allowing for only the most ideal respondents to contribute.
As I began working with Senior Research Analyst Rami Bensasi, the perceptions that I had created were quickly debunked. This experience showed me that I had many things to learn, and many things caused me confusion.
When reading verbatim comments from a digital survey, I saw that many people gave answers that lacked solid backing or they stated that they did not know the answer. How could qualitative data that were so unrefined be useful? Other questions seemed to supply answers that were more emotional than informational. My thought process was that, for a comment to be useful, it had to be backed with fact-driven opinion rather than feeling.
“There’s no such thing as a comment that’s not valuable,” Rami says. Sometimes you can ask only one question for a whole group of people, even if the group members have widely diverse demographic characteristics. You pick the question that gives you the best chance of reaching your research goal. This includes giving consideration to the answers of people who might be uninformed.
Even those verbatim comments that read “I don’t know” hold value that is not seen by the untrained eye. To most, that appears to be a lack of information; to researchers, that signals an educational opportunity. For example, an answer that seems driven by anger or fear might better signal a lack of knowledge or a negative experience.
Asking the right questions is just as important as the medium through which you ask them. It does not matter how much thought you put into using one channel over the other. If you do not ask questions that will gain you valuable insight, you might as well not ask the questions at all. Good research does not just witness ignorance, anger, fear, satisfaction or joy. It finds the source of it.
To find truly useful information, you must ask the questions that get to the heart of people’s reasoning, not just picking at their opinions but finding the reasoning behind those opinions. And that reasoning that Bravo Group finds is what lets us keep winning.
Gwen Poillucci, Pittsburgh