The worrying truth behind the rhetoric of “the polls are always wrong”

Perhaps I am getting a little grumpy in my old age – I have now been in my mid-twenties for almost two decades – but I am beginning get really annoyed by the continual refrain that the polls are always wrong.

The idea seems to be that if you say it enough times it becomes true.

But in the referendum and the last election there were reasons for some elements of the media to disorientate and confuse as they had an interest in the results (the EU wanted to clampdown on aggressive tax avoidance and on the Conservatives did not want to revisit Levinson).

For the polling companies, the real problem is brand and reputation. The truth is that the polls are really only a form of advertising for where the money really is – the interpretation and segmentation of the findings and being publicly humiliated (particularly when the data is broadly right) must be really annoying.

I suspect it was always the way – you do get people in life who are so confident of their views and genius that they do not bother scrutinizing the evidence and this has not really changed.

The uncomfortable truth is that this sort of lazy thinking comes round to haunt you – Henry Ford claimed if he had listened to what his customers wanted he would have produced a faster horse.

Unlike some of today’s self-proclaimed geniuses – he had a fair point.

But by ignoring what his customers wanted he allowed General Motors, who created a number of different models for different customer types, to become the largest car provider in the US in just 7 years.

Segmenting is where the real value of market research is apparent – sorting the wheat from the chaff is sometimes a necessary part of business.  But not just understanding the value of your customers but the groups within your customer base.

If you want another article on labelling and segmentation from a more personal viewpoint, you can find one here

If you want any more information about who to segment your customer base then get in touch by visiting our website

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: