When qual misses the point

When qual misses the point

Our brain is primed to reach false conclusions. Psychologists have a name for the cognitive bias that makes us prone to assigning a causal relationship to two events simply because they happened one after the other: the “illusion of causality.”

Case in point - in a ground-breaking piece of research, Nisbett and Wilson showed women four pantyhose and asked them to choose the best. When asked why they made their decision they gave all manner of reasons strength, elasticity etc. The thing is... all four pairs were identical.

We often use qualitative research to help us understand the causal mechanisms behind consumer behavior. However, much of this research is based on the customer's illusion of causality. Very few, if any of us truly understand our decision-making process so much qual research misses the point.

To avoid inherent biases in qual we need to...

  • Acknowledge that research that asks people to describe their descision-making is fundamentally flawed

  • Rely far more heavily on in-market research such as multivariate tests to guide our customer understanding

  • Investigate alternative qualitative methodologies such as the Jobs To Be Done methodology to uncover behavior motivations and triggers.

1. The Atomic workflow

Design and UX

Must read - Brad Frost has brought together a set of thinking on design systems into a workable methodology and open source project. Make no mistakes, this will be the default standard in web design process.

2. What is product marketing?


Do a quick search for product marketing on AngelList and you'll find over 800 startups looking for product marketers. Do a quick search on LinkedIn and you'll find over 95,000 open product marketing roles across the U.S alone. But what exactly is product marketing? Well, that's where things start to get a little fuzzy.

3. Your LTV (customer lifetime value) math is wrong

Data informed

There has been a lot of good stuff written over the years on the topic of calculating customer lifetime value (LTV). The top three reasons many investors roll their eyes when they see entrepreneurs present inflated, poorly constructed LTVs are:

  1. Understated churn rates

  2. Low cost of capital

  3. Incorrect gross margin.

4. 18 cognitive biases you can use for conversion optimization

Customer obsessed

Persuading completely rational people to make a rational decision or take a rational action would be quite easy. Unfortunately, you’re stuck dealing with irrational thinking, fuelled by cognitive biases and emotions.

5. Picking The Right Data Collection Method

Data informed

There's no shortage of methods available to the UX researcher. The methods can generate both qualitative and quantitative data--and many of them complement each other.

6. The power of nudges, for good and bad

Customer obsessed

Nudges, small design changes that can markedly affect individual behavior, have been catching on. These techniques rely on insights from behavioral science, and when used ethically, they can be very helpful. But we need to be sure that they aren’t being employed to sway people to make bad decisions that they will later regret.

7. 5 things i learned from spending thousands on Instagram ads


  1. Create mobile specific landing pages

  2. Tagged users can't see CTA buttons

  3. Aesthetic matters

  4. Image ads CPC outperform video ad CPC

  5. Sub $1 email leads are possible.

8. How content marketing changed the role of the CMO


The CMO of Genpact (B2B, $2 billion revenue pa) discusses how content has driven an evolution of her role and marketing strategy.

9. The decay of Twitter


The social network fundamentally changed in early 2014. And that’s causing big problems for the company.

10. unbounce

Tool of the week

Build, publish & a/b test high-performing landing pages without tech. The mobile responsive landing page builder for marketers.