We can do market research when we know what we want to know and who should we ask about it.
However, we must be very conscious of another big factor to really understand our consumer or customer. We must be clear if the information we are getting is:
1) What the consumer say
2) What the consumer think
3) What the consumer do
When we think a moment, the difference is very clear: What a consumer says about a product or communication is very frequently different to what a consumer thinks and probably it´s also different to the final action.
1) What a consumer/customer says. It´s frequently available, we can ourselves go to ask the right questions to the right people. However, we must be very conscious about the filters the consumer or customer applies to what they say. Starting with the social filter, very important in Latin America:
a. Negative opinions will always be avoided by courtesy
b. Avoid a social judgment by the way to think, even in a simple survey.
2) What a costumer/consumer does. This is of course very trustable, we can find in reports and data analysis or by observation during the purchasing process. Availability of deep information is wide if we talk about digital, but not so much when we talk about the offline world. The biggest limitation is we know what consumers/customers do, but we don´t know why in first instance.
3) What they think. The accessibility to this information is really recent and it´s very trustable to understand the inner reaction of the consumer, with no filter at all. Usually called Neuromarketing, uses neurological procedures to get the initial reaction of consumer with no rational/social filters. Hardly to find better information to evaluate communications. However there is no warranty that what consumer thinks about a product, brand or communication determines the final action of the consumer, when the consumer become a shopper there are rational and social filters affecting the final action.
At the end, we need to be clear what is the kind of information we need or we have. If we know it clearly, we will be able to get the right interpretation and conclusion.