• There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.

The two most important truths marketers need to know about

Published 13 Nov 2019 2 minute read

Strategic Thinking

The truth is easy to work with, it gives you confidence and helps you make great decisions, especially where your target audience are concerned, right? So, why then, when it comes to researching people, are the two most important truths that marketers have to work with the biggest traps of all?

The two truths I speak of are half-truths and inconvenient truths. Let’s unpack them and understand why they are so important and what to do about them.


Starting with half-truths. Some might call them deceptions, or even lies - rarely of the purposeful kind however. When you sit people (your customers or target audience consumers) in a focus group and ask them what they did and why they did it, you’ll get a response that doesn’t tally with the actual truth. You see, we humans are irrational, and we are not great witnesses of our own behaviour, so when researchers rely on recall alone they will give you the wrong steer. Recall is based on rational thinking. Actual behaviour is more often irrational, emotional or, as Daniel Kahneman calls it, System 1 thinking. It's part of the reason why we prefer online qualitative research where what people disclose can be tested later on in depth and detail. Here's how we do it, if you're interested.

It’s not only the likes of Kahneman and Dan Ariely that have spent years looking into our irrationality, Google have been doing so too. Pick up the book ‘Everybody Lies’ by Seth Stephens -Davidowitz and see for yourself how, from analysing behavioural data from Google searches, social media, online dating sites, and even pornography sites reveal the real truth (and subsequently the half-truths) about what people really do and what they think.

We humans don’t mean to deceive, it’s simply how we operate and how our brains are wired. But if you are on the verge of making big business decisions and risking significant investment then you need to work with experts, such as social scientists, anthropologists and psychologists to see through these fabrications.

Inconvenient truths

The second most important type of truth that marketers need to be aware of is the inconvenient truth. Painful as these are, inconvenient truths are those that point to some significant change of the kind that will be hard, challenging or disruptive. Inconvenient truths challenge what people know, or thought was the right way to go.

Disruption isn’t easy to deal with. It’s fraught with tension, especially for some stakeholders as they might have to change what they’ve been doing for a very long time, and we know how hard change is. Being told that the way you’ve always done things for customers 'isn’t working' is tough to hear. So too is the inconvenient truth that your latest idea or innovation isn’t cutting it with your target user or customer, or that they don’t value it as highly as you do and that they are happy with what you are already serving them up. Inconvenient truths are very common, and ignoring them will often lead to failure. But, here’s how you can manage them.

So there you have it. Beware of the traps, half-truths and inconvenient truths at your peril. You have a responsibility to maximise your companies investment, so get expert help and advice on how to spot and work with these truths. You’ll look good and make that next promotion if you do!

Want to get to the bottom of how people in your target audience behave, think and feel? Contact Us



Inconvenient truths

Discover our platform and services


The insight platform for online qual, research communities, digital diaries, ethnography and more.

Services & Support

A range of expert research services and resources to help you deliver your projects with ease, speed and reach.


Human insight with impact; leveraging our academic and industry experts to uncover insight, create impact and make confident decisions.

Conde-Nast (1) (1)

We were amazed at the level of insight we achieved in just a week. Further opened our eyes to new ways of researching and understanding our staff

We helped Conde Nast International define a new global mission and vision statement

van-tay-media-Kab_-4M4I74-unsplash (1)

Further really understood the brief and were extremely proactive. We are now very confident that we’re taking the right products and proposition to market.

We helped this insuretech startup tailor their customer value proposition for the UK market ahead of a planned launch

Keyhouse (1) (1)

Further's expert team pushed us to clarify our assumptions and to think harder about how to communicate the value of our products and services

We helped Keyhouse enter a new market and understand what target users of their case management software needed and how to position their offer

FTH001_Mother_2_children_tablet (1)

Working with Further was a refreshing and eye-opening experience…...the qualityof their output which was excellent.

We helped Unicef generate insights to support the development of a mass market, sustainable fundraising product.

Zwift image (1)
Zwift-logo (1)

Strategically, Further’s insights provided clear and directional answers that will guide us through our next phase of growth

We helped Zwift understand users and non-users needs and wants so they could prioritise their innovation pipeline

Chillys image case study (1)
Chillys-logo (1)

We helped Chilly’s leadership team consider new ways to understand and co-create with their customers’

We helped disruptive pet insurance company Waggel develop customer personas and map out the current and intended customer journey.

What next?

Browse our site, download our resources, request a demo of our platform or speak to one of our experts

Browse our work
Contact Us