In a recent Blog post I mentioned my Cardinal Rules of Marketing. The above was one of them. What does it mean? Does your audience lie to you?

Well it’s hard to separate the truth from perceptions when you ask your audience questions. Why….because we are dealing with psychology. People say what they think is positively perceived especially in the presence of other users.

Years ago, as a Brand Mgr for Minute Maid Orange Juice I recall one of those frequently used focus groups. You know, when you ask a collection of your users what beverages do they buy for their kids? In a group, they said “I only serve orange juice or apple juice to my kids.” Of course, that is nutritional and they would be perceived as a good mother, right?

Very interesting, however….when you watch what they do, a very different picture emerges. Ask them to open up their pantry to you and you find 8 packages of Coke to 2 packages of juice!! But how can this be? Not what they told you.

So what’s the lesson for you? Make sure your marketing and sales people become more skilled at observing behavior than listening to the psychological answers. Look for opportunities to watch what your customer is doing…..with your product/service or your competitors. Learn from their behavior… is more accurate.