Thursday, February 3, 2011

In Marketing Research & Life, Courage to Open Your Mind

Source: TidewaterMuse (Flickr)

I was always a difficult child.

As soon as somebody told me "this is the way it is," I would always ask "why?"

I can't count how many times I got into trouble for that question.

Not because it was a bad question. But because asking upset the social apple cart.

What I didn't understand was that sometimes a group decides that something is effectively "true" and "right," even though it isn't necessarily either.

Which is why I'm so fascinated by sociology. How do individual thoughts turn into group decisions? Because the answer to that question is hugely important.

* On the commercial side, you can leverage groupthink to sell things. (E.g., Uggs boots. Which really are Uggs.)

* Outside the workplace, you can channel group behavior toward the positive - such as the new interagency program to fight human trafficking and the huge social movement that is taking place around this issue.

* Frighteningly, group behavior can turn ugly too - the anti-Semitism now exploding in Egypt during its political quest for freedom is just one example.

As an adult I am glad to have a myriad of research tools available to me to help me discover answers to the questions I have. For many years I believed in the concept of a guru that supposedly "has all the answers." I thought I just had to find the right one.

Well, that didn't work.

Today I see that nobody has all the answers. Instead, there are helpful people who can provide assistance along one's path of discovery.

The thing that has made the difference for me, and what I hope to share, is to have the courage and self-confidence to believe in your questions. And then the persistence to see your research through.

It can be challenging and time-consuming, for sure, but the end result is worth it.

Don't be afraid to have that temper tantrum. Just use it for constructive ends.

Good luck!