How can marketers know if they’re making sound decisions or going astray? Research can provide a wealth of clues. But, of course, there are a million ways to dig for the prized research data. Unfortunately, none of them will lead to a sound decision unless the results are both valid and reliable. Here are the basics for ensuring accuracy in both of these areas.
The info-hunting involved in marketing research is not exactly a stroll in the park. In many cases, researchers will find themselves slogging through a foggy swamp, lost and helpless. The only way to emerge successfully is to confirm that your data measures what it was intended to.
A key to ensuring data accuracy is knowing how the information was collected in the first place. As long as this remains a mystery, researchers will never know if they’ve grabbed valuable information. Ultimately, marketers must dig far enough to learn the full methodology of the research in question.
OK, you’ve gathered what appears to be fool-proof research results from a group of test subjects. But, obviously your study didn’t cover the globe. Whether the number of test subjects was twenty or two hundred, the problem for researchers remains the same – does this relatively small group represent the target demographic at large?
To know with any kind of reliability, researchers must conduct further testing. Only by duplicating the results of the initial study can marketers get a solid handle on the preferences and goals of their customer demographic. Marketers who rely on a single test are making educated guesses at best.
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