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because marketers want roi,
but avoid defining what that is.
You’d think it might be cost per acquisition,
or customer lifetime value, or revenue.
But often, KPIs are less about business
and more about media performance.
“passion” is a kpi.
how (a lot of)
marketing people deal with data
Who cares about affluent baby boomers &
the advertisers who love them?
I want the 18-24 demo!!
there’s a fear of small numbers
Marketers worry about the signal-to-noise ratio.
The smaller the sample, the more they worry
about noise (wrong people, inaccuracies or
untruths, groupthink, etc.)
So they compensate with bigger sample sizes.
But more numbers often make more noise.
20,000 people surveyed in three countries.
100 shop-alongs and at-home interviews.
leading to… analysis paralysis
market research isn’t as
sciencey as it pretends to be.
research ≠ design
Research is the process by which we understand problems.
Design is the process by which we solve problems.
The CEO’s Kids
“I keep a lot of kids around me and ask them questions and peek around the corner
when they think I'm not listening. My master plan was I had a lot of kids. I have six kids.
Three girls that are six, a 15-year-old, 18-year-old and 22-year-old.
I have the perfect research team in my house."
It's really hard to design products
by focus groups. A lot of times,
people don't know what they want
until you show it to them.
- Steve Jobs
over targeting leads us astray
“[M]ost companies with a practiced discipline of
listening to their best customers and identifying new
products that promise greater proﬁtability and growth
are rarely able to build a case for investing in
disruptive technologies until it is too late.”
- Clay Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma
research ignores switchers,
rejectors, fringe & new users
“Generally, disruptive technologies underperform
established products in mainstream markets.
But they have other features that a few fringe
(and generally new) customers value.”
- Clay Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma
what is a lean company for?
1. To specify customer value.
2. To identify & implement the actions that create value.
3. To remove anything that doesn’t create value.
4. To analyze the results (and repeat).
why does feedback & customer pull matter?
Feedback and testing (a.k.a., research)
help teams settle questions and make decisions
based on evidence not preferences.
Continuous feedback helps teams see progress.
we need to understand people and
behavior so we can make better
predictions and measure outcomes
theory v. information
“Who needs theory when you have so
much information? But this is categorically
the wrong attitude to take toward
forecasting, especially… where the data
is so noisy. Statistical inferences are
much stronger when backed up by
theory or at least some deeper
thinking about their root causes.”
We have to transform the research manager from a
project manager into a Scrum master.
Their role is to remove obstacles to progress, and to
Their responsibility to the team is to facilitate hypothesis
testing, and to create opportunities to challenge
Do less, more often
Lean research is about continuous
customer, partner & team feedback.
Use right-sized tools
that are closest to hand
the whole team can do this.
forget the horse’s mouth
Don’t count on users to make
your decisions for you -
that’s not their job.
Don’t let the report be the end
of your learning process - it’s just
a way to memorialize what you’ve
learned and provide a reference
when you encounter similar
To make research meaningful to the whole team,
the whole team needs:
nothing beats a conversation.
data should make us more empathetic
If we design for data that helps us make decisions,
that helps us create value for our customers,
and that helps us develop empathy for people so
deep that we can anticipate solutions to problems
they can’t yet express…
That will enable the kind of analysis suﬃciently
advanced to be indistinguishable from magic.