“Analysis Paralysis” in Experiential Marketing

Written by PortMA

“Analysis Paralysis” in Experiential Marketing

“This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.” – Winston Churchill
Researchers always look for statistically significant differences in the data we collect. In most of our experiential marketing analytics work, the analyses we conduct and convey are straightforward. This is largely because the consumer exit surveys we administer are typically from five to eight questions long, which allows for only so much analysis.

We typically report on several key variables:

  • Demographics, like age and gender
  • Consumer segment
  • Market and/or event type.

Respecting our Audience

PortMA recognizes that our reports often end up in the hands of busy executives and non-researchers. Respecting our audience, we strive to keep our reports concise and relevant. Most of our clients – and their clients – want to see the bottom line. That’s exactly what we provide, along with supporting data.

There are exceptions. In the traditional market research work we conduct, we tend to have clients who are “data hungry” and looking for more information beyond the bottom line. It can be easy to get caught up in providing slide upon slide of interesting data. These are the cases where analysis paralysis is likely. For those unfamiliar with the term, “analysis paralysis” is self-defining: It is the inability to translate results from analyses into meaningful insights.

A researcher can become so overwhelmed with the possibilities of what could be done, he or she loses sight of what should be done.

The problem with analysis paralysis is that it afflicts not just the researcher, but the audience. I’ve seen occasions when a client is grateful for the report and understands on some level that its contents fulfill each request, but the report offers little value beyond that. In those cases, the report and the research that produced it result in nothing more than a very expensive checklist.

Righting our Report (pun intended)

One of the challenges in report writing is balancing the needs and requests of a data-hungry client by asking ourselves some critical questions:

  • Why are we doing this?
  • What value does it provide?
  • What problem does it address or solve?

By asking these kinds of questions, we are able to take a step back from the immediate task of reviewing data and develop relevant storylines that meet our experiential marketing research objectives.