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Bogus consumer research and PR

Posted by Paul Seaman in Media / Money / The Good Corporation / Truth & Trust on 14 April 2008

Why we posted this: The internet is changing consumer behaviour – that much we know. However, much of the research which claims to inform us about its wider implications is not credible. Here’s a classic example from KRC Research and Weber Shandwick who should know better.

The original story:
New Weber Shandwick Global Research Identifies Radical Shift In Consumer Decision-Making

The essence of the story:
“New Wave of Advocacy,” a global survey, suggests that modern consumers are also activists. They spread the good news and the bad news about services and products around friends and the new media. They make up their minds about what they support and condemn with increasing speed.

The research suggests that nearly ten percent of consumers are “high-intensity” advocates (or “badvocates”).

Perhaps oddly, this kind of advocacy is more common in Europe and Asia than the US.

livingissues comment:
Weber Shandwick’s KRC interviewed just 583 people out of a global population of 6.5 billion, or just 0.000009 percent. Assuming they interviewed an average of almost 65 people in each country in China that works out as 0.000005 percent of its population. Yet Weber Shandwick claims to have a margin of error ±4.1 percentage points. The truth is that around just 14 percent of the world’s consumers aged 15 and over are connected to the internet; 80 percent or so are still unconnected, cut off. Moreover, 25 percent of all worldwide internet users aged over 15 live in the US. So while consumer habits are changing, it is difficult to draw universal global conclusions.

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