The answers do not matter

15 May

As a researcher, I always believed that the purpose of a question was to get an answer. The answer was the thing. With question-behavior effect, the question is all that really matters because the goal is to motivate a behavior, not to get an answer.

This seemed a minor point until I realized that we could scale up a communications program by just asking the right intentions questions of the right people. No need to wait for their answers.  Reading or hearing the question alone is sufficient to start the mental processing and access to attitudes, leading to a behavior shift (at least in most cases so far).

This aspect of question-behavior effect clearly removes it from the realm of marketing researchers, and delivers it into the the hands of marketing practitioners. Speaking as a researcher, the most successful marketers are action-oriented — they want a behavior such as consumers selecting their products. On the other hand, most marketing researhcers seem more fascinated with asking questions and getting answers.  This is a less aggressive form of action-orientation.


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