A lesson from Don Draper


After watching re-runs of Mad Men this week, we have been fantasising about working with Don Draper. And this isn't just because we like Mad Men (which we do) - it's because Don Draper gets to the heart of our beliefs about customers and research. In this scene Don is discussing the findings of a focus group with his researcher, Dr Miller....

Dr Miller: "I can't change the truth."

Don: "How do you know that's the truth?  A new idea is something they don't know yet, so of course its not going to come up as an option.   Put my campaign on TV for a year, then hold your group again then maybe it'll show up."

Dr Miller: "Well I tried everything. I said routine, I tried ritual.  All they care about is a husband.  You were there, I'll show you the transcripts."

Don: "You can't tell how people are going to behave based upon how they have behaved."

It's a brilliant summary of the some of the limitations of using traditional methods of research in isolation. At Customer Faithful, we get this - that's why we go beyond asking customers just what they think, beyond even what they actually do. Instead, we'll triangulate the findings with insights from other industries, looking for trends that might crossover, or influence a new generation. We'll create cartoons of what customers say and do, and ask them to help us write the punchline.

It's art + social science + intuition - not a replacement for focus groups, but a better shot at the 'truth' - we're with Don on that one...