Setting aside any pros and cons concerning the outcome of Trump vs. Clinton, here, in the spirit of offering some post-election food for thought, are three questions to ponder from a marketing and research perspective.
- In the aftermath of misfiring political polls, should market research companies be checking in with their clients, and corporate market research departments with their in-house constituencies, to make sure everyone understands that data and insights from well-conceived consumer surveys remain trustworthy?
- Along with perceptions about the candidates themselves, how much did general, widespread discontent over how government has been functioning factor into the discrepancies between pollsters’ predictions and the election results?
- How much have external conditions –- including widespread discontent with how government has been functioning in the context of this election -- contributed to the gap between the polls and the actual results?
- Are enacted government policies equivalent to product lines, with the public as the targeted consumers?
Whatever the answers, the takeaway is that there’s always a gap between what we think we know, and how consumers actually think and feel. Because the public is always changing in unpredictable ways, the need for consumer insights never ends.