A comment on yesterday’s post brought up how telemarketers have impacted the credibility of market research. Being able to conduct valid research is our life blood and if we were ever unable to get people to participate in our research, we would be unable to provide accurate results to our clients – at least in a cost efficient manner. That is why Sugging and Frugging are so frustrating.
In case you are unfamiliar with the acronyms, Sugging and Frugging stand for Selling Under the Guise of research and Fund Raising Under the Guise of research, respectively. This occurs when a company or organization tries to use research (e.g. surveys) as a cover for a sales pitch. Needless to say, it is manipulative, disrespectful of the intended audience, and if not strictly fraudulent it is highly unethical.
So what can we do about it? Of course just discussing it and informing marketers of its destructiveness is one way; ironically, the same marketers performing this deception are the same that would benefit most from solid research. To learn more, be on the lookout for the soon to be published Encyclopedia of Survey Research — Corona CEO Kevin Raines and Senior Analyst Geoff Urland wrote the entries on Sugging and Frugging! For those who don’t want to wait for the book to come out, the Marketing Research Association (MRA) has a resource for helping fight these practices. Maybe it’s not ironclad, but it’s a good start.