How to learn from the silent majority
Updated: Apr 13
In many disciplines, one can find the age-old principle: “Garbage in -> Garbage out”.
It means that no matter how sophisticated your algorithms may be; if you feed nonsense into them, you will get nonsense out of it.
When it comes to understanding customers, the key to making sure that you get the right answers/chase the right opportunities is to study the full spectrum of your potential customers, or (as we like to call it at Beehive AI) to include the silent majority.
If you only look at passive data (e.g. feedback, social media, reviews), you will only hear from the “loud minority” (e.g. people that hate you or love you), and you will miss out on the majority (e.g. the in-betweens). If you run surveys and/or look at panels, you get “professional survey takers” that don’t accurately represent the larger population. Because of this, you'll need to engage a broad audience to solicit feedback and get answers to your question(s).
When engaging these people, you'll likely encounter two conflicting forces:
You'll want to learn as much as you can about each person
You'll want to keep the engagement (eg. survey) to a minimal amount of time; otherwise (again) you will lose the interest of most of your audience
So, how do you do it? This is where Qualitative Intelligence comes into play.
By asking direct, clear, and simple open-ended questions, you allow people to voice their opinions freely, using their own words. This allows you to get the most amount of context/value, in the least amount of time. It also makes the experience intuitive; after all, humans are not designed for communicating in scales and multiple-choice selections.
For example, while trying to discover what people like to watch on TV, and the reasons why they prefer this content; Instead of trying to force people into 40 closed-ended, ranking and matrix questions...
Wouldn’t it be simpler, faster, and more efficient to ask them these questions directly, and to let them answer freely?