Is Market Research Reliable?
By Greg Deinzer
The October 23rd posting by Dr. Bruce Isaacson entitled “The Quantity of Presidential Polls and the Quality of Marketing Research” started me thinking again about the perceived reliability of market research results. I highlighted the word perceived because as an honest MR professional I am confident that 99 and 44/100% of us in the business try hard to ensure that best practices are effectively implemented on every study. Or, at least we try hard to obtain an ending sample size greater than one – even if that one respondent is your mother.
So, assuming that the methodology, sample size, numbers, significance testing, etc. are pure from a market researcher’s point-of-view, I wonder how reliable market research results are to normal people. Findings from Morpace’s May 2012 omnibus survey of 1,019 U.S. respondents help shed some light onto this topic.
When asked about perception of market research results overall, 24% answered 6 or 7 on a 7-point scale (where 1 means very unreliable and 7 means very reliable). Do you sense a little skepticism amongst the general population?
Interestingly, perceptions change dramatically when market research is attributed to various sources. Research credited to a scientific journal, for example, is seen to be much more reliable than that coming from a political organization.
What implications does this have? I’m not quite sure. One thing I am certain of is that I’m glad I work for a market research company. It’s encouraging to know that nearly one-third of the people who read my reports don’t think I’m lying to them.