When conducting market research (MR), two key areas to be aware of are biases and ethics. Bias is defined as prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group; typically in an unfair way. Ethics are the moral principles that govern your behavior or how you conduct an activity. In this age of fake news, it is critical to ensure your research minimizes bias (yours and respondents) and you conduct ethical research. Conducting your research with minimal bias and with an ethical behavior is critical as a provider of market information to drive decision making, solve problems, or identify new opportunities.
Like most skills, it is helpful to study and attend training classes to accelerate learning. Market Research (MR) includes multiple specialties and requires a variety of skills (e.g., designing questionnaires, interviewing, creating reports, moderating focus groups). The more you can improve your MR skills, the greater insights you will uncover which will help you make better decisions.
Most marketers on the “coasts” do not truly understand the mid-west consumer. If you are marketing products or services towards the mid-western consumer, you need to get out of the office and spend some time with this massive demographic. Put aside your assumptions and learn first-hand what makes this massive segment tick and how you can better align with their needs.
Paul Jankowski wrote an excellent book titled, Speak American Too: Your Guide to Building Powerful Brands in the New Heartland. For marketers targeting the “Heartland” or rural America, this should be a required reading. It is a great read that presents a real and actionable overview of a target segment that most brands stereotype incorrectly or just avoid.