Monday, January 18, 2016

The UK Market Research Industry is made to look naive

On May 7th 2015 the UK had a General Election. All (but one) of the market research had pointed to a Labour victory. Yes, ALL  but one got it wrong.

When the exit poll results were release, reality descended and the post-mortem began. How comes the UK Market Research industry got it so wrong?

To start with there were complicated theories about some type of voters not telling the truth when interviewed as a part of the panel. We now learn that wasn't the problem.

The problem was that, with one exception, all of the research companies skewed their research panels to younger, digitally capable people and didn't take enough notice of the 70+ who were unlikely to use the Internet to be part of a polling panel.

The second idiotic mistake, but one that happens all too often, is to group all older people as 60+.  “We made a foolish error,” said Stephan Shakespeare, the boss ofYouGov. You bet you did.

This article gives more detail.

I am sure you are one step ahead of me and thinking - well if they got it so wrong for the largest and highest profile market research exercise of the year, how accurate is the industry providing me with answers about my brand or whatever?

The answer is that the MR industry has gone too far in the use of online and telephone polling and is systematically under sampling the views of older, none digitally active older people. For too long the industry has dismissed all older people into one lump, either at 60+ or sometimes as low as 50+

For a lot of brands that will not concern them as they make the naive assumption that the whole world spends its life using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but you know what - they don't. Dick Stroud

PS. This is a good account of the final report about why the research was so bad

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