in theory, marketing research is a tool that managers use to make better decisions by giving them the information that they need. In practice, a suprising amount of marketing research is done to act as something of an “insurance policy” to verify a decision that a manager in the firm already made. Think about this, a mid level marketing manager wants the company to release a product they are testing. If the manager just relied on his or her “instinct” or “experience” then they would be held liable if the product fails, and perhaps be demoted, lose pay or be fired in extreme cases because the failure was based on their judgement. On the other hand, if the manager had an in depth market research report done saying that it was a good idea to release the product, and it still fails, they can point to the research to save face, and perhaps their job. Most managers in this situation don’t want an objective answer when using market research, they want “their” answer so they will push research firms to skew the results to support their decision. For example, instead of researching “whether or not it is a good idea to release the product” the unscrupulous manager would say “make sure the data supports the product release. Most research firms don’t like doing this, but many will and there are even a few who will happily fabricate a research project for you (it is much faster and easier this way). What would you say to a colleague if you found out they were doing “insurance policy” market research? Would you do consider doing it if you knew it could protect your job? Finally, what difference, if any do you see between intentionally skewed research and fabricated research if the answer is the same?
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