Market research can be tricky because people have a tendency toward giving you the answers they think you want.  It is simply human nature, and something we marketers must pay attention to.

In the past, the solution to avoiding this skewed feedback has been to provide ways for current and potential customers to give anonymous feedback.  The prevalent thinking was that the more impersonal the feedback gathering mechanism, the better chance of getting the real feedback.

In my opinion, marketers using that data-gathering approach just aren’t getting it.  We don’t need to make our interactions less personal; we need to make them more personal and make it be all about relationships.

When we can build authentic relationships with our current and potential consumers, we will get authentic feedback, whether they are praising our products/services or telling us what is missing or not working for them.

Relationship-building does require time, attention, and even emotional investment, but the returns (ROR: Return on Relationship) are absolutely worth the effort and resources.   When you build an authentic relationship with your current and potential consumers, they are more likely to:

  • Tell you more … because they actually care about your product/service/brand
  • Be more honest … because they trust you and your willingness to hear the truth about your brand
  • Take more initiative to give you feedback … because real relationships are a two-way street
  • Provide more valuable feedback … because they really know your product/service/brand
  • Be more respectful in their responses… because they don’t need to rant and rave to get your attention
  • Tell their friends you rock … because you are open, engaged and responsive

So, which will it be:  a cold environment of anonymity or a warm live community of relationships?   I choose relationships (and you should too).

Originally posted at SheSpeaks

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