Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Marketing Research - The Study Of Frog Jumping

Be Careful Not To "Jump" To the Wrong Conclusions

By David Miranda

I want to apologize to any animal activist groups in advance. No frogs were harmed in this story.

Some behavioral scientists were conducting a study on frog jumping to determine the relationship between a frog's physical characteristics and its ability and skill at jumping. A frog was placed on a lab table at a precise starting point. One of the scientists made a loud noise. A fellow scientist recorded the result: a frog with four legs jumped four feet. Another scientist removed one of the frog's legs and then the loud noise. Result? The frog with three legs jumped three feet. This sequence was repeated. Remove a leg, make a loud noise. Results? The frog with two legs jumped two feet and with one leg jumped one foot. Finally the frog's last leg was removed and the scientist made the the loud noise. Result? The legless frog did not move. The scientists' conclusion? Frogs with no legs go deaf.

Sometimes marketers view conclusions from research the same way. This happens more frequently than we like to admit. Here are some real life examples.

  • A company was pleased to see that calls to their customer service department were trending down until they discovered it was due to customers not being able to get through and finally giving up.

  • A company whose sales were trending down wrongly concluded their advertising agency needed to be changed when, in fact, it was due to poor product quality.

  • A company wrongly concluded that a new customer loyalty program would stem the tide of defecting customers when the real problem was inferior service.

Don't go "deaf" in what makes your business "jump".

Make your own conclusions on what the research is really telling you.