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Jeff Ely, economics professor at Northwestern University and contributor to the Cheap Talk blog, recently wrote a great article about titles, or names. His examples focus on bank names, and how they engender trust, and the names of legal documents, which could perhaps be simply skimmed to get a sense of utility or relevance. But the article is an interesting reminder and idea spark, for researchers and marketers.
There are varying degrees of scope and sophistication in our wildly different projects and initiatives. Our work is passed to our clients, to internal teams, to executive management, to various partners and outside parties. The names of studies, reports, presentations, tools used in the process, task force teams, strategic plans, products in development, etc. do matter.
Names should be clear and communicative – presenting the topic but also the considering the audience. Names should not be overly technical or detailed. Names should be intuitive, parsimonious, and should be readable (and intelligible) “out loud.” But names should also hold up over time, regardless of how related issues change or evolve. Future researchers should be able to refer back to your work, referencing a name that still communicates something to them. It’s somewhat a lofty challenge, if you think about the implication of the choice of title. The goal is to strike a balance between communication and brevity – if the name simply “fits” in these terms, it will likely carry and communicate as desire.
Heuristic psychologist, behavioral economist, and professor of marketing Dan Goldstein first published his article, “How to be a better improviser” in 1996 and updates the content on occasion, most recently in 2009. The tips are customized for stage acting, but many of the essential messages can be applied to decision-making approaches and behaviors in the marketing world, the business world, and other interpersonal communications. Check it out for some creative inspiration.
I’ll be first to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s books. I mean, I thought The Tipping Point was as interesting as the next guy. But with Blink and Outliers, I was overwhelmed by this sense that he was conducting years of exhaustive research and writing a few hundred pages to tell me something I kinda already knew.
That said, his New Yorker articles are top-notch, the most recent How David Beats Goliath, being no exception. Gladwell uses examples as disparate as elementary school basketball, T.E. Lawrence, and of course, the story of David and Goliath to make his point. In each case, the key to success is simply trusting your own skills, instincts, and limitations and using them to your advantage. Maybe I kinda already knew that, too, but the article serves as a great reminder.
In conducting quantitative marketing research, analysts have an arsenal of tools and methods that may be employed to develop insight. W5 consultants are constantly developing our analytical techniques [link], and a few of these methods, segmentation and conjoint for example, have become core competencies.
For these types of projects, smart study design is critical, but for the most part these analytical techniques are applied post hoc, in interpretation of trends and spikes that emerge across a large numerical data set. We love this type of work, but we only recommend such an approach if our client’s overall strategic and specific research objectives seem to call for it.
Sometimes, marketing research objectives are best addressed not so much through application of post hoc analytical techniques, but on the front end of the project – through development of a direct, customized, in-depth line of questioning. Read the rest of this entry »
“Design is rapidly moving from posters and toasters to include processes, systems, and organizations. Design is the accelerator for the company car, the power train for sustainable profits. Design drives innovation, innovation powers brand, brand builds loyalty, and loyalty sustains profits. If you want long-term profits, don’t start with technology—start with design.”