Fatal flaw in study of consumer attitudes on mobile advertising

Just read another forward-looking study on consumer attitudes toward various evolving aspects of mobile and mobile advertising. My thoughts apply equally to any emerging and rapidly evolving field. Like many such reports, taken at face value it might be read as giving clear guidance to go down a certain path. That may help sell reports, but it would better serve its audience if the research weren’t written up that way.

Be careful listening to consumers answer hypothetical questions about what they might do with something they’ve never experienced.

‘Tis true, you’d be a fool not to ask.

You’d be a fool not to look for insight in their answers. Be open to new directions.

You’d also be a fool not to keep moving forward to try putting something in their hands and see the results. Then go back and ask (and listen) again.

In general, qualitative research seems more useful for forward looking hypotheticals. Something feels irresponsible about providing quantitative results here. But survey percentages are less expensive to produce and sound more authoritative, so we got plenty of them. Instead, let me hear what people are thinking, in their voices, unshaped by multiple-choice boxes.

Either way, take hypothetical studies as just that: something to prove wrong or right. Use them to look for possible insights, not for answers.

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