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Mind Readings: The Worst Kind of Research

  • The worst kind of research is incurious research, which is research that is commissioned to prove a point.
  • Incurious research is dangerous because the average layperson doesn’t necessarily know how to distinguish between research that is curious and research that is not.
  • Any good researcher will say that incurious research is not how research works.
  • Incurious research often comes up in marketing, particularly when stakeholders have a very specific point of view that they need to push.
  • To counteract incurious research, you have to be willing to tell somebody who’s asking for it that it’s not how research is done.
Mind Readings: The Worst Kind of Research

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In today’s episode, let’s talk about the worst kind of research.

What is the worst kind of research is a data that’s too complicated, too advanced as a data that you can’t process? None of that’s true.

The worst kind of research the research that you should spurn as much as you can, is incurious research.

What is incurious research? Incurious research is research that you are a stakeholder that you’re working with Commission’s to prove a point.

So good research asks the question, hey, what’s the relationship between retweets and replies? What’s the relationship between new site visitors and conversions? How much do people care about issue X? Those are good questions that you could condition some research around and say I want to know the answer to these questions, because they’re important questions.

incurious research, bad research sounds like this.

I need data to prove that my point is correct.

I need data to prove that email marketing is dying, I need research to prove that the conservative point of view is correct on this matter, I need a paper that proves x.

That is incurious research is data.

It is it’s actually something of data.

It’s a point of view that is predetermined for a type of research.

And it’s really, really dangerous because the average layperson doesn’t necessarily know how to distinguish between research that is curious, that is legitimate.

And research that is not research that has been commissioned to prove a point.

News Headlines often boil things down to according to the latest paper from whatever according to this, or some scientists say quotes like that.

And that obfuscates the fact that the research in question is not credible, is not unbiased is not properly done.

Any good researcher.

Any researcher worth their salt will say, No, that’s not how research works, we’re not going to take on that project.

And there are plenty of research companies that do incurious research.

When I was very junior in my career, my spouse was working at a research firm, just up the road from our apartment, and they were a conservative think tank.

They only took on incurious research, a politician running for office or a business would go to them and say we need research that says X.

We need research.

I remember one particularly egregious case, said something along the lines of We need research to prove that a certain population shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

That’s curious.

Right? You could you could ask, are there people who perhaps might not be the buyer might not be competent to exercise their rights? Right? That’s, that’s, that’s a more valid question.

But even that’s kind of invalid, because at least written in law.

There’s, there’s no distinction and it says if you’re of age, you can you can go vote.

This comes up a lot incurious research comes up a lot, particularly in marketing, particularly when you have stakeholders who are in a hurry, or stakeholders who have just a very specific point of view that they need to push that point of view, as much as possible.

And our job as marketers, as data driven folks, as people who want legitimate answers, is to intercept those incurious requests, and spin them around and say, Well, what if we did some research to find out whether that point of view is valid or not? You know, if somebody says we need research to prove that SaaS software is going to be the most important industry sector in our industry.

What if instead, we said, well, let’s let’s find out what is the most important sector, it might not be this particular kind of software? Let’s find out what is and that information we could then use to set strategy.

Maybe it turns out that on premise software is actually the most important type of software in our industry.

Wouldn’t it be good to know that for the company’s sake, for our marketing sake to say like, yeah, gosh, customers seem to really be all about this on premise software.

Let’s make sure that we have an answer and offering something along those lines to, to demonstrate that we are in tune with our market.

When you counteract incurious research, you are not only providing good information to your yourself, your company and your stakeholders, you’re also potentially opening up new doors for streams of revenue for customer satisfaction for all sorts of things.

But you have to be willing to tell somebody who’s asking for incurious research, Hey, that’s not how we do things.

That’s not how that’s done.

That’s not a best practice, whatever, whatever language will resonate with that person.

You have to be okay with pushing back and saying, let’s not go that route.

Let’s try this instead.

So that’s the worst kind of research there is.

Make sure that you’re not doing it yourself.

But you’re not asking for research or data to prove a preordained point but are instead looking at what is reality what is fact and then helping others to understand the value of reality as well.

Thanks for tuning in and talk to you soon.

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