Have you ever gone to the mall and seen people loitering around one particular section, clipboards in hand, waiting to pounce on anyone who makes eye contact? Those people are $8 an hour “surveyors”. They are paid to ask you a list of questions, based on your physical appearance.  In other words, their clients may be looking for women between the ages of 30 and 50, so they will try to engage anybody that fits that description, in hopes that some of them will take a few minutes to answer their questions.

That’s how marketing research USED to be done.  It was expensive. It was slow. And surprisingly, it was not very reliable.  

In today’s world, what we have found out is that people ask a lot of questions.  Fortunately, they ask most of them in one place, typing them into a little white box, and then pressing “Search”.

And, as luck would have it, this question-gathering-device has an amazingly good memory.

If you understand anything about survey psychology, you know that there is a real challenge in getting people to answer your questions in an honest, helpful fashion.  It’s not that people are being intentionally dishonest, but rather the very act of asking THEM a question can create a substantial level of error in the results.  For example, if I ask you this question, let’s see what your answer is:

What brand of car do you think you’ll buy next:

  1. Ford
  2. Chrysler
  3. Chevy
  4. Lexus
  5. Other

You will be artificially forcing them to choose from your finite list, the featured auto manufacturers on the list may cause people to “remember” something they liked about a Ford, but not recall a feature in a Honda that will eventually sway their decision, and frankly, you will end up talking to people who may not be planning on buying a new car ever.

But what if you could get the questions THEY were asking? What if you could see their REAL thoughts or ideas on car buying, brands, features and prices that they wouldn’t otherwise tell you? Just how useful would that information be?

Yes.  That’s where the real power of search engine data comes into play.  That’s why it is crucial that we understand how to find, interpret and use keywords to your business’s advantage.  When you eventually grasp the real power of key words, you will see not only your own business in a new light, but you may also see businesses you could be doing right now, that you never knew existed.