Market research is big business. $10 billion big. That's a lot of money spent figuring out how consumers feel and behave. These days, the majority of that money goes toward quantitative research.
“Quantitative research” has such a rich and authoritative sound. It's the kind of thing you could trot out during dinner party conversation to hush the room. Who's going to argue with quantitative research?
I think quantitative research is great. I depend on it for understanding all aspects of the Total Market. My problem is not with the method. It's with the way populations are sampled. As a result of that, month after month, year after year, brands make the decision to invest in audience segments that are not growing. It sounds dramatic, but that's the result of the way consumer research is done. Perhaps I should explain.
Do you recall the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) from earlier in the book? They were the folks who promulgated that gobbledygook definition of the Total Market I took a swipe at before. Well, the ANA isn't the only advertising trade association. The other big one is the American Association of Advertising Agencies, commonly known as the 4A's. Those two organizations pooled their resources to found the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) way back in 1936. The ARF is a nonprofit industry association that exists to improve the effectiveness of advertising, marketing, and research. It supplies ...