The news that Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones in Q4 2014 made me wonder whether it was time for me to upgrade my handset (not necessarily to an iPhone as I currently have a Samsung Galaxy S4 and like the Android OS). I remember not too long ago when it seemed like that was something that I needed–or felt I needed–to do every two years. My current plan still allows for that subsidized option, but after some thought, I concluded that I really have no need for a new handset. The one I have is quite versatile, and it does everything I want it to do in a format that meets my needs. I could upgrade to the latest version which might have an even bigger screen and some additional features, but do I really need it?
Some recent conversations with clients about methodologies and paradigms have made it clear to me that market researchers fall victim to this same desire for the latest and greatest. In this case, we’re not switching out handsets but rather methodologies or analytical approaches. Sometimes it appears that the decision of which solution to use to answer a research question has been driven by this desire to try something new rather than simply to answer the business question. In this day and age of more powerful computers and advanced algorithms, it is easy for marketing scientists like me to propose an increasingly advanced solution. But, given the wide array of analytical tools, it is important to make sure the analytics we are proposing are really necessary to answer the business question.
To that end, I think it’s important to understand the following when advising on methodology:
As you consider different approaches for your future research projects, I hope these thoughts help you decide whether that new analytical “handset” is truly necessary to meet your needs. Let me know your thoughts: send us a note.