Things You Say To Market Researchers That Mess Up Their Job

I’ve been a market researcher for 12 years. I love my job and the people I interview. I love learning new things and hearing different perspectives every day. But sometimes it can be frustrating to hear the same things over and over again from participants. 

There are some key phrases that pop up in every research study that you should never say to a market researcher! 

If you do say those things, you’re likely causing more work for the researcher, or messing up their data collection process. So here are the top 10 things you should never say to a market researcher:

7 Mistakes to Avoid with Market Research – YouTube
1. Be cautious with leading questions.
2. Avoid imposing personal biases.
3. Ensure clear communication of objectives.
4. Don’t rush the research process.
5. Embrace diverse perspectives for insights.
6. Remember the importance of unbiased data collection.
7. Respect ethical guidelines and privacy concerns.
8. Continuously validate findings for accuracy.
9. Avoid oversimplifying complex consumer behaviors.
10. Collaborate with researchers for optimal results.

1. I Don’t Have Time For This

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to tell a researcher that you don’t have time for their research, especially if it’s just an initial conversation. 

The researcher needs to know how much time you have so they can plan accordingly and give you enough questions to be answered in the allotted period of time. 

Help them by setting your own time limit for the interview and let them know when it will end so they can start preparing their next question(s).

The second big mistake that people make is not paying attention during the study. By keeping your phone away from view or out of reach, not answering emails or texts during the call.

And generally focusing on what is being said rather than checking social media or email frequently (or at all), researchers will feel more confident about their work and will provide better data as a result.

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2. Ask Me That Again. I Wasn’t Paying Attention

You may think that you’re asking a question that needs to be asked, but what you’re really saying is: “I didn’t hear what you just said and I’m not interested in hearing it again.”

A better approach? Try these things instead:

Ask the question again. This can be as simple as repeating back the same question (without changing any of your words). If there were a word or phrase that confused you, ask for clarification on that point before continuing with your lines of questioning.

Ask the question in a different way. If one way of phrasing something isn’t working, try using different words or phrases to see if they make more sense than what came before them! A good market researcher will always welcome this kind of feedback – as long as it’s done politely 😉

3. This Will Take About An Hour Right?

How long the interview will take is not always a simple question to answer, but it’s important to know that it depends on several factors:

The number of questions you ask. The more questions you ask, the longer your interview will be. 

If a person is answering yes or no questions and they’re only taking a few seconds each, then they’ll finish in 10 minutes, but if they’re answering open-ended survey questions and taking five minutes per question (or even longer), then the conversation could easily last an hour or two.

How well prepared your research subject is for their interviews. If a person has done very little preparation before their interviews and doesn’t know anything about them beforehand (e.g., what type of businesses do we do).

Then there won’t be much time spent getting them up to speed before hitting record! A lot more time will need to be spent asking clarifying questions about why something happened so that all parties involved have full context around each situation described during those recordings; 

These situations may include things like why certain decisions were made by stakeholders at different points in time when conducting business operations.”

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4. Can We Do This Interview On The Phone?

You can do a phone interview, but you need to be prepared.

First, make sure you have a quiet place to talk. If you’re going to be in public during the interview (like at work), make sure that there isn’t too much background noise. 

This can make it more difficult for the interviewer to understand what you are saying because they won’t be able to hear every word clearly.

Next, turn off any devices that could ring or vibrate during your call with the researcher so that he/she doesn’t get distracted by other things happening around them while trying to listen in on your conversation.

And take notes about what’s being said over the phone line as well (which means double-checking twice!).

Lastly and most importantly make sure not too long before starting out that everything is working properly (ie., microphone quality etc.,) so no one has any technical problems when conducting an interview like this one.”

5. I Can’t Be Honest Because My Boss Might Review This Data

You can’t be honest. Your boss will see this data and fire you.

While it is true that some of your responses may be reviewed by your company before they are made public, what you have to understand is this:

The value of market research lies in the ability to gather feedback from a large number of people and create an overall picture of what consumers feel about a product or service. 

So even if one person’s comments are not shared with employees at large, it doesn’t mean that other people aren’t sharing similar reactions. 

In fact, most survey companies are very careful about ensuring there is no way for anyone outside their own team to identify individual participants by name or any other identifying information (like e-mail addresses).

Additionally, there are strict guidelines in place when it comes to how much detail can be included in a report based on how much information was provided during the survey; 

So unless there was something truly egregious about your answers like swearing repeatedly or making threats against another participant the chances that anyone will even notice them (or care) is slim indeed!

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6. Let Me Just Check My Email While You Are Talking To Me

This behavior is so prevalent that you’ve probably witnessed it in your own life. You are in the middle of teaching your child how to ride a bike, and they keep stopping because they need to check their phone. 

You are talking to somebody at work, and they keep checking their phone because they think it’s important.

No question responding quickly to emails can be an essential part of doing business these days. But there’s a bigger problem with this kind of behavior: it makes everyone else wait for you! 

In fact, when people do this during interviews, it actually wastes money both yours and ours. We’re paying for research services just like anybody else does (or should be doing), so we have the same budget constraints as everyone else does, and wasting time costs us money too!

7. Let’s Get Back To You Later, I Have A Meeting Now And Need To Run

This is a really important one. You should be prepared to answer questions during, after, and even after the interview.

It’s not enough to just take notes on what you think we’re the most interesting parts of the conversation and leave it at that. 

You’re going to want to actually follow up with your research participants in order to get their feedback on how things went and if they felt like you asked them all of the right questions. 

This will also give you a chance to ask any last minute questions that may have come up during your conversation with them (and help them remember something important).

And don’t forget about email! If someone has given us their contact information we generally send them an email thanking them for participating in our study; this is also where we include any other details about our organization or process.

So they know exactly who we are and why we did this type of research in the first place. But don’t stop there.

This is also an opportunity for us as researchers/marketers/business owners etc., etc., etc., whatever type of professional services provider here (i’m just using myself as an example)–to tell people how much we appreciate their time or insight!

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8. I Would Never Buy From You So There’s No Point In Sharing My Feedback With You…again!

A common theme among the companies that I have worked with is the assumption that market research is only helpful to the company who is paying for it. 

This can be the case, but only if you’re not looking at how each of your customers use your product or service in their day-to-day life.

When I ask someone a question about their experience with your product or service, I am trying to learn what they like about it and what could be improved not just for them, but also for other potential users like them. 

So when someone says something like “I would never buy from you so there’s no point in sharing my feedback with you…again!” they are actually saying two things: 

(1) they don’t want to give me any information; and 

(2) they don’t want me there at all!

9. How About We Skip Questions That Aren’t Interesting For Me  Can We?

This is where the things you say to market researchers that mess up their job happen.

“How about we skip questions that aren’t interesting for me can we?”

For example, if someone asks you what your favorite color is, and you don’t like green much, then of course it’s not going to be as interesting for you. 

But this doesn’t mean that the researcher shouldn’t ask it! 

Your answer (or lack thereof) could be very important information for a company designing a new product line or marketing campaign because people who love green might be more likely than others to buy something made with that color in mind. 

A good market researcher will find ways around this issue too by asking variations on the same question using different wording, but if they’re not being paid enough money or they don’t care enough about their job they won’t bother trying all these different versions; 

Instead, they’ll just stop asking questions altogether since no one wants to fill out surveys anymore anyway except maybe robots working on behalf of Facebook and Google who are trying really hard right now not to give away too much personal information such as gender identity or sexuality.

So they can sell those details back again later at higher prices than before when everyone had access without having any idea whatsoever how valuable data collection was becoming until now.

Because remember how when we were growing up everyone used AOL dial-up connections provided free by them? Well guess what: those days are over now thanks guys!

10. You Already Know What I Am Going To Say, So Why Should I Answer These Questions?

It’s frustrating when a researcher asks you to complete a survey, and then asks you the same questions again. If you’ve ever felt this way, it might be because of one of two reasons:

  • The first reason is that you’re not giving honest feedback in your answers; or
  • The second reason is that even though you are giving honest feedback, the researcher still doesn’t hear what he/she is looking for because their mindset is already set on one answer vs another (i.e., “I know I’m right”, “I’m going to do this regardless of what anyone else says”).

The point of market research surveys is NOT just to ask someone a question and expect him/her to agree with your preconceived notions; rather, it’s meant as an opportunity for us all – consumers included – to learn something new about each other and ourselves! 

We want our customers’ voices heard so that we can make better products based on their needs rather than our own biases or assumptions.

11. You Need To Ask Those Questions A Little Differently If You Want The Right Answer!

If you want to get the right answer, you need to ask the right question. Unfortunately, there are many ways in which a question can go wrong. For example, this is not a good way of asking:

>“What if your best friend was going on a date with a new person and they asked if they should wear their hair up or down? What would you tell them?”

This type of question will not give you the information that would be useful and actionable for your business. But what would be some better ways? Let’s say we’re going into retail stores (not something we do often at Qriously). 

Our client wants us to understand how women feel about shopping for clothes versus men’s clothing (and vice versa). A better way of asking might be:

“How do you decide where to shop when it comes to buying something for yourself or someone else?”

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We hope this article has helped you learn more about what not to say to market researchers, and how to get the most out of your next meeting with them. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us.

Further Reading

Explore these additional resources to enhance your understanding of market research:

Fixing Image Problems in Market Research Short Description: Learn how to address and overcome image-related issues in market research to ensure accurate insights.

Avoid These Common Market Research Mistakes Short Description: Discover five key mistakes to avoid in your market research efforts to achieve more reliable results.

Top Mistakes That Can Impact Your Market Research Short Description: Gain insights into critical errors that can influence the outcomes of your market research projects.


How can I improve my image problem in market research?

Addressing image-related challenges in market research involves ensuring unbiased data collection, transparent methodologies, and thorough analysis of perceptions.

What are some common mistakes that can hinder my market research efforts?

Common mistakes include inadequate sample sizes, leading questions, confirmation bias, ignoring qualitative data, and failing to consider cultural nuances.

How do I avoid impacting my market research negatively?

To prevent negative impacts, prioritize proper survey design, unbiased data collection, meticulous analysis, and continuous learning from both successes and failures.

What steps can I take to rectify market research errors?

Rectification starts with identifying errors, understanding their root causes, and implementing corrective actions such as re-evaluating data, adjusting methodologies, and refining future research strategies.

How can I ensure reliable insights from my market research?

Ensuring reliability involves using diverse data sources, employing rigorous research methodologies, validating findings through triangulation, and seeking external expert opinions when necessary.