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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Cochrane

Taking a deliberate path to get better data

Two wolves are standing on top of a hill . One a young eager wolf, the other a veteran and survivor. Down below is a flock of sheep tranquilly munching on the grass. No shepherd is in sight. The young wolf says let's charge down their and get us some sheep. The veteran says "slow down young wolf". If we rush down we each probably get one. But if we silently sneak down the hill, we may be able to get them all.

I frequently relate this story to market research. We're often eager to get results. Our clients or bosses are pushing hard for answers to pressing needs. So, we create an online survey and field it to thousands of potential respondents. And wait. Maybe after sending the survey link multiple times, we receive enough responses.

But, in our rush, did we ask the right questions in the right way. How good is our data and conclusions if we don't understand the context, opinions, feelings and perceptions of our respondents. Rather, if we go talk with some of our survey targets before charging down the hill, we can learn what's on their mind. Do we understand their feelings toward our topic, context, opinions, and perceptions? If we talk to a sample, we find out the best way to ask questions and how to structure the questions to get the best results.

We've found starting with qualitative interviews always leads to better responses, data and conclusions. Think about quietly walking down the hill next time, gathering as much information as you can to get more and better sheep.

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