Magazine article Marketing

Asking the Right Question Will Get the Right Answer

Magazine article Marketing

Asking the Right Question Will Get the Right Answer

Article excerpt

"A man so various that he seem'd to be, not one, but all mankind's epitome; everything by starts but nothing long; fiddler, statesman, scholar and buffoon, all in the course of one revolving moon." That comes from Absalom and Achitophel, Dryden's savage assault upon Lord Shaftesbury, a 17th century politician of more than usual deviousness.

I hope I'm not that devious, but I have tried about every way you can imagine - and quite a few you couldn't - to make money. For instance 30 odd years ago I named and helped put together a research firm, which got a whopping great contract from part of British Rail. For all I know it was the first consumer research BR did.

I actually drafted the questionnaire - rather worrying, since a lot of research comes up with the wrong answers because the wrong questions are asked. For instance, asking people whether they will buy a product is rarely likely to give the right answer, which is why so many products predicted to succeed fail. Professor Andrew Ehrenberg, to whom I make no apology for quoting again, as he is always lucid and often funny, suggests the real question is, would you give up the product you are using now to buy this new one?

I recalled this on returning recently, very tired, from the Far East. I was handed a leaflet saying, "Pre-book your London taxi" as I was about to catch the splendid new Heathrow Express. "What a good idea", I thought, and began to read the copy, carefully printed for minimum legibility in sanserif type on a mauve background. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.