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When Research Goes Wrong
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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One of our main points of emphasis here is to change the industry's erroneous perception of research. Research, when done correctly, can provide ample insight on consumers and industry trends and can assist our colleagues when making advertising and tactical decisions.

However, as we champion the cause, situations arise that demonstrate why such poor perceptions are warranted.

Case in point: Search Engine Land ran a sponsored post by an author from the Local Search Association, which was announcing its most recent report with a Local Media Tracking Study done in 2012. As we were reading it, several of the points seemed a little off to us.

The most glaring point was the amount of people who used the Yellow Pages (print or Internet) in the last month. The report stated that 46% of U.S. adult Internet users have gone that route. For the Yellow Pages to be the second-highest option under search engines was interesting to us.

So we dug further.

We didn't have to dig too far. The Local Search Association is an organization backed by the Yellow Pages Integrated Media Association.  

Go figure.

It is research like this that really rubs us the wrong way. Small business people, who are looking for advertising solutions, would read this research as gospel, without doing their due diligence, and will dedicate their hard-earned dollars to advertising based on self-serving research. And down the road, if the advertising investment doesn't pan out, the business owners will develop a sour taste for having an advertising budget. 

Research is not supposed to be a way to posture your own products and services. If the research works out that way, great, but to push something like this is less than truthful. The best research is unbiased and looks at multiple perspectives to answer a specific question.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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