Market Research Lessons from Dr. Seuss?
Traci Wood; Market Research Account Executive
Yes, Dr. Seuss. The man who gave us "Think and wonder, wonder and think." I love his books. I’ve read my favorites over and over– One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, McElligot’s Pool, and my very favorite The Sneetches. But you know what’s interesting about Dr. Seuss? His words have the ability to teach us valuable life lessons we can use in our everyday lives. Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it to you. Here are 5 lessons that I believe every market researcher can learn from Dr. Seuss.
1. “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if you only try.”
How many times have you done the same market research project over and over again? You know….. I bet is goes like this - Your company wants to know what customers/vendors have to say, so you write a survey and call people on the phone to ask them questions. Once the calls are finished, you look at the data collected and Voila! There is the answer to your question. Right? Well, maybe and maybe not.
Why not try a new approach? Develop a mobile or online survey or utilize social media research to hear what people are saying when they are not being asked structured questions. And, why not analyze all of the unstructured text your company already has collected and stored away somewhere to test the power of text analytics in answering business questions.
2. “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
I’m sure you’ve all heard the story of the giant semi-truck getting stuck under an overpass because it was too tall to drive under. The truck driver, rescue workers, city engineers, transportation authorities were all trying to come up with the best solution to free the truck. Overly complicated and incredibly time consuming and expensive plans were discussed back and forth, but no solution could be decided upon as everyone was too focused on the problem. Until, that is, a small child simply said, “Why not just take the air out of the trucks tires?”
See! Dr. Seuss is right again – the answers are simple if you just take the time to look at the complicated problem and devise a precise plan of action. You don’t need to make your research methodologies so complex, so complicated, and so convoluted that you lose sight of what you wanted to learn in the first place. Take the time to think. Sometimes the answers are simple if you take the time to correctly design ‘How’ you should ask the question in the first place.
3. “If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew. Just go right along and you’ll start happening too.”
My daughter has wanted to take Gymnastics lessons for quite a while. I was finally able to get her enrolled in a class and her first lesson was last night. She was extremely excited. She had planned her ‘gymnast’ wardrobe and hair style down to the last detail, and strutted into that gym like she owed the place. And then…the hard work began and lasted for two hours. The stretches, the jumps, the running, the blisters, and much to her dismay…the sweating. She listened and learned the techniques she was being taught. She worked hard and cannot wait for her next lesson. She is embracing moving forward with her goal.
Why did I tell you that? Well, many of us conduct research, receive our answers, and implement a solution and find the company or campaign begins moving forward at a far faster rate than expected. A natural response is to step on the brakes and slow things down to a more comfortable pace. We forget to embrace the changes we wanted. It is hard to accept change especially at a rapid pace. Just set your sights on where you want to go and hold on. Isn’t moving forward the point of it all? Don’t stand in the way of your own momentum.
4. “They say I’m old-fashioned, and live in the past. But sometimes I think progress progesses to fast.”
And sometimes it doesn’t, sorry Dr. Seuss. And even if you feel that way too, the truth is our world changes every day. New technologies emerge every day. And like it or not, we need to adapt to these changes. Embrace them. Utilize them to our advantage by allowing the new technologies to give us a different perspective on the world. The addition of social media networks have given consumers a voice that has never been heard in such a loud tone before. People are having conversations about your company – whether you’re listening and engaging with them or not. I say embrace it! Engage! And move forward!
5. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Now that you have your answer it’s time to take the information and insights you gathered and do something great with it. Move your company forward, make a decision that will matter to your customers and clients, and hopefully benefit everyone in the process. After all – isn’t this why you asked the question in the first place?
See, I told you! Dr. Seuss can teach all of us a thing or two about marketing research and, of course, avoid putting a star on your belly just because all of the other Sneetches do.