(Because They Can’t Tell)
When you ask people what they think, what they do, and what they think they’ll do with regard to your advertising, a number of factors affect their answers. Here are just a few:
• What they think you want to hear
• How they want you to perceive them
• Their self-concept
• Day of the week and time of year
• Their mood at the moment
• Their desire to help or harm
• Paper color (written questionnaires)
• The order in which questions are asked
• Opinions of others
Note that the above have nothing to do with how people will react to your ad. They only influence the answers they give you as to how they think they’ll react.
Do not fall for the myth that allowing people to respond anonymously makes their answers honest and reliable. Yes, people experience trouble when it comes to being honest with researchers. But, worse, they also experience trouble when it comes to being honest with themselves. Or, for that matter, even knowing themselves well enough to be honest about it in the first place.
Don’t believe me? Try the Bathroom Test. Coming up in next week in my next post.