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Holes! paraphrased from the CEO of Black and Decker telling investors that no one wants 1/4″ drillbits but plenty of people want 1/4″ holes. Marketing organizations need research to create a culture of learning…and that means you need continuous listening for the unexpected.  This becomes really clear when you read Pete Blackshaw’s latest column in Ad Age or listen to Charlene Li who talks about it all starting with becoming a fast-learning organization.  The ARF is committed to Transforming Research and going from research to learning is a big part of the change.  From there, you get to inspiration and the C-suite saying, “Hey our head of Consumer and Market Learning needs to weigh in on that issue!”  Our annual conference the end of March has been constructed as a 3-day learning journey about how you can start transforming research into learning.

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2 Responses to “research is to learning as drillbits are to…”

  1. Hi,

    like your thoughts but the problem is that the idea of 1/4″ holes is really not what holds up with consumers. What consumers really want is to live their lives, they want to spend a good time at home — and B + D needs to understand these episodes of people’s daily life — NOT how to make 1/4″ holes.

    1/4″ holes is the result or the job to be done (the ideas of Ulwick and Christensen now….) but no consumer really thinks of jobs as 1/4″ holes, they think of taking children to school, spend time on Friday night play rock, run round the park, or relaxing at home – it is these episodic behaviors that really matter to consumers and unless we marketers begin to understand what really matters to consumers, we miss it again and again — just like PepsiCo missed it with the redesign of the Tropicana juice and the designers and venture capitalists missed with the Segway Personal Transporter — these were all 1/4″ holes. Remember, Segway was supposed to change how we transport ourselves from point A to point B.

  2. Joel Rubinson

    point well taken although there is also something beyond learning as we are learning for a purpose (inspire new mktg ideas, for example), so maybe the metaphor still holds.

    Anyway, I look forward to you sharing ideas like these at our annual conference on Wednesday, April 1st!