I was making spaghetti last week and thinking about customer research. I know, it’s not normal. Anyway, what I was thinking was how quantitative analysis can be true, valuable, and irrelevant all at the same time. And qualitative research can also be true, valuable, and irrelevant all at the same time.
Looking at my pasta I tabulated stats about the pasta. About 99% of the pasta was spaghetti (I spotted a couple angel hairs). Close to 75% of the pasta was lined up in the same direction. This spaghetti was 85% carbs by weight. My pasta sauce was 44% cream, 25% peas, 15% ham, 15% Parmesan, and maybe 1% black pepper. The pasta cooked for 7 minutes and 35 seconds.
I tasted the pasta and thought about the experience. The sauce was rich, the ham salty, the peas were sweet. The mouthful of pasta was warm and satisfying to chew. The smell was full of Parmesan, ham, and a hint of black pepper. The meal was relaxing, restorative, and satisfying.
Thinking like a nutritionist or kitchen manager, I probably care more about the first description. If I were a food critic or dining customer, I probably care more about the second. As a business person, my choice of data probably depends who my customer is…
As a marketing professional, make sure your research is true, valuable, and relevant!