When Good Numbers Go Bad

OR Why You Need to Do Some Research Again

New Products Deserve New Numbers

Industry data is like looking in a rearview mirror on a dark night: Totally outdated and a terrible method to moving forward with a new product. One particular entrepreneur thought he would use his charisma and some industry statistics that he dug up to create and launch a new cleaning product. When we suggested a simple concept test to assess the viability of the product, to quote: “We don’t need no stinkin’ research. This will fly off the shelves. It’s a billion dollar market and no one is doing anything like this. We are going to make millions!” The result? The first batch of 10,000 bottles of this stuff were manufactured in China, shipped over, and sat on the pallet because no one wanted to stock them in their store and no one responded to direct marketing efforts to sell the first shipment. Even if you’re sure that you’ve got the next big thing, make sure that you’re heading in the right direction by leaving the past behind you.

Where My Curves At?

Numbers don’t have to be old to be off. Using insights from a focus group based in NYC, a feminine hygiene company developed some advertising for their tampons, but the models in the ads turned out to be too skinny when the ads went through testing. Since the ads were based on the focus groups, the New York mentality had translated into advertisements that the rest of the country just couldn’t relate with. This example of bias was a huge turn-off for all women outside of the Big Apple, showing that focus groups in one place just can’t cut it.

Going Digital in Every Way

Data can go rotten when the methods behind it become outdated, even if the research done is fresh. With the changes to the marketing model brought on by the immediacy of the digital age, the classic model of awareness-->preference-->trial-->loyal usage doesn’t necessarily fit anymore. Unfortunately, brands still do traditional awareness & usage studies to justify traditional TV and print advertising budgets. But consumers will often find their brand on the shelf, check Amazon reviews and decide then and there whether to buy. And the old research methods point towards wasting money on traditional advertising that will get the brand nowhere.

Don’t Call Them, Maybe

Remember when some certain political polls were telling us to expect one thing, and then the opposite thing happened? Yeah, we can blame that on phone surveying. Once upon a time, TripleScoop was asked to carry out a phone poll for a race in another state, and we noticed that very few people even answered their phones. Keeping them on the phone after they found out it was a survey was a whole new battle. Phone surveys have abused consumers for so long and with the advent of caller ID, people just don’t answer their phone to strange numbers anymore. We can’t really expect to get representative data with this outdated method.


Success. That’s really what it’s all about, right? When you have fresh data using fresh methods, it’s very easy for things to go right. That’s why we encourage frequent, focused research. Each project that requires numbers should get its very own new numbers, and TripleScoop is here to help.