Most research professionals know there is a kernel of sad truth in this Dilbert cartoon. But it is not because the world is random, so that made up numbers work just as well as accurate numbers. It is because research is often not used at all, in which case the difference between real numbers and made-up numbers just doesn’t matter.
Why is research not used? The most common reasons we see are:
1. The research is overly focused on “metrics” and “dash boards” (which most decision makers don’t really care about) rather than finding needed answers to urgent questions (see Do You Have a Metrics Fetish?)
2. The research is not focused on the right questions but instead on the nice-to-know, red-herring, already-answered, or look-elsewhere questions (see The Art of Asking Questions).
3. The research does not skillfully turn data into a story, a critical communications component of research that needs to be built into the work from the very beginning (See Turning Data into Stories, and Turning Data into Stories: A How-To Guide).
There are simple things you can do to ensure that your research does get used so that accurate numbers do matter. Give us a call and will be happy to help you overcome each of these obstacles with smart, creative, and flexible market research to answer your critical questions.
(Thanks, Jonathan, for pointing us to this cartoon!)
–Joe Hopper, Ph.D.