Actions Speak Louder Than Words

We’ve all heard the expression ‘Actions speak louder than words’ but have you actually thought of what that means for marketers? We recently asked a few of our Upwords clients about their challenges, and a theme emerged – ‘survey data isn’t giving us the answers we need’.

The problem

One client shared an example. An impulse food brand was getting pushback from retailers featuring them because ‘surveys’ indicated that consumers would prefer something healthier. But in reality that impulse brand knew that people were still choosing their brand.

The solution

That got our team at Upwords thinking. In so many of our online qualitative research projects we see instances when there are marked differences between what people SAY they do versus what they actually DO. This creates real contrasts in our analysis and reporting.

When people are in the moment with us during an online study, and they’re telling us what they think they would buy in a given scenario, then they share with us what they actually purchased and their reasons for doing so, we connect and understand them and the category more deeply.

This isn’t an exclusive occurrence for impulse items either. Let’s think about planned items like breakfast – the most important meal of the day. People will TELL you about well balanced meals they eat and serve their families. Then they’ll SHOW you the sugary cereal in their cupboards, which they justify by saying

‘well the kids love it and I’d rather they eat something rather than nothing’

Household cleaners is another one. They will TELL you the environment is important, then SHOW their ‘dirty dozen’ of cleaners that were ‘well priced and simply do the job better than their green counterparts’.

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Anyone with a smartphone or tablet can now bring us into their homes and on their shopping trips. They can SHOW us how they actually use products and services and they can EXPLAIN their own inconsistencies in the moment.

The Road to Ruin

If as a marketer you are relying on making decisions based solely on what consumers SAY in their surveys, you could be heading down what Upwords is calling the ‘Road to Ruin’ and missing out on deeper insights that can better inform your business!


If you want to hear more about the Road to Ruin, we hope you’ll join us for some real world examples at the upcoming Quirks Events in either LA or NYC.