You CAN Handle the Truth: The Benefit of Asking
“I was wrong.”
“What I thought would happen made me do things that didn’t turn out the way I thought they would.”
“Things happened that I didn’t anticipate.”
“I thought what happened before would happen this time.”
“I don’t know.”
As businesspeople, these are things we are terrified to think, no less say. We’re paid to know. We’re paid to understand our clients and consumers. We’re paid to predict. And failure to do so accurately can have dire career consequences.
Yet we watch the most educated and brilliant economists in the world vacillate almost daily about whether there’s going to be a recession or not. “Terminal” patients sometimes survive to full life-expectancies. The predicted “storm of the century” can fizzle out to a rainy day, and conversely a rainy day can become deadly. And well-researched and thought-out financial projections that predict ongoing corporate success fail to take the upstart competitor or new technology into account and reality falls off a financial cliff.
Who could have known? Given the amount of information that goes into the failures listed above, sometimes the answer is “no one.” And sometimes, the answer goes back to our tendency to bury our heads in denial sand or fail to ask the right questions. The true failure is the failure to even ask the questions.
As a research and marketing company, we’ve worked in an industry that decided long ago that doing focus groups was ridiculous. If you don’t know your customers and your clients, you don’t know your business. And as a research and marketing company, we have found that indeed, many of our potential clients have no idea what their customers are thinking – what they’re doing – how they’re using their product or their potential for using it in the future. Honestly, some of them don’t want to know because change is hard. (We all know that if people didn’t die, we’d still be living in caves, right?)
The world, as cited above, can be unpredictable enough when you have the knowledge, the expertise, the understanding that past and current attitudes can help predict future behavior. Frankly, failure to even initiate conversations is likely to actually accelerate the demise of a business or even an industry.
NuVoodoo’s marketing expertise comes from years of evolving and changing our marketing products. Decades of providing telemarketing and direct mail services naturally morphed into personal and segmented digital marketing channels recommended and executed based on market research as to where a target audience can most efficiently be reached. This was done also by adding an experienced staff qualified to perform. And that could only have happened because of the constant influx of consumer information that we generate through our research and insights division. We recommend a constant cycle of research and marketing execution that constantly addresses changing habits and technologies.
“Radio” is an industry that has clearly evolved into “Audio.” We’ve been working with this industry for many years. We’ve been providing state-of-the-industry annual research for 21 cycles. And this year, our focus addresses the shifting earth below audio providers’ feet head-on.
This month, we’ve conducted over 5,000 interviews with Americans who listen to something, somewhere, at least sometimes. While there are some tough facts to face for some of our clients in the data, there are also kernels of opportunity for those who plan to thrive for years to come. Over the next few months, we’ll be sharing these data with anyone who’s interested through a series of webinars. You’re most certainly invited to participate. The marketing lessons to be learned should be valuable for any marketer hoping to reach a potential audience.
We may not know. But we CAN take our best guess based on listening, learning, reflecting and acting. We may fail. But we’ll certainly fail if we don’t deal with reality. We can’t deal with reality unless we can fully see it. And we can’t see it if we fail to even ask the questions. This failure to ask will most certainly result in a failure to survive. This is a change that we can accurately predict.
We close with two quotations:
“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” -John C. Maxwell
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change” -Albert Einstein