Tag Archives: customer research

Red Pill Insight+Marketing: What’s In A Name?



Greetings from Glasgow! So what’s Red Pill Insight+Marketing all about?

It’s high time there were more Red Pill blog posts. Whether relating to business and marketing in general, or specifically referring to the world of customer surveys and other marketing research, you’ll find my observations and thoughts here. Maybe even a wee rant or two.

Life’s full of contradictions. Which doesn’t sit well with me. In my private life, I like seeing the world in black and white rather than multiple shades of grey. ‘Good luck with that’, I hear you say!

But the world doesn’t work like that and marketing researchers are well aware of this. In fact, it’s probably a major reason for the passion and inquisitiveness displayed by research professionals. When I’ve got my ‘research’ hat on, I love going on journeys of exploration into these aforementioned shades to see what can be gleaned and passed onto clients to help their businesses.

It’s widely bandied about in marketing circles that customers don’t care about the companies who seek to do business with them. Neither do they give a toot about the specific products and services offered. They couldn’t care less about what companies are up to on social media and don’t want to be interrupted by one-way outbound marketing tactics.

That’s fair enough.

But then there’s another school of thought: one which has relevance for professional services such as marketing research and even more relevance for individual consultants like myself. And that is: at the end of the day, people do business with other people. Not a specific widget or thingamabob, but a living, (hopefully) breathing person. And to do that, they do want to know a bit more about the person interacting with them.

Pleased to meet you. Favourite team and biscuit details missing. Just as well.
Pleased to meet you. Favourite team and biscuit details missing. You’ll have to guess – if you actually care…

That doesn’t mean however that marketing agencies should fall into the trap of having their staff disclose their favourite football or rugby team, music, or chocolate biscuit on the corporate website in an effort to present a more cuddly and personable image. But they do (sigh). As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, what’s the point? I’m not interested if someone prefers Jaffa Cakes over Hob Nobs; I care about whether they can do the job. Plus, there’s the big risk that opinions will be formed on this that are driven by emotion rather than good reason. It’s superficial and it fools nobody.

What IS valued however – especially in the context of individuals earning a crust – is understanding a consultant’s mission, values, driving beliefs and so on. This is far more useful for one of my potential clients to understand rather than knowing whether I prefer listening to Within Temptation rather than Taylor Swift.

So in the spirit of marketing ‘glasnost’, I’ll directly address something which you may have already asked yourself upon visiting the website or seeing me on Twitter or LinkedIn:

“What’s with the ‘Red Pill’ moniker?”

Now you’ve opened a can of worms…

Go on, take it! See reality…through your customers!

I’m guessing that a number of you have seen The Matrix at some point. That’s the movie with Keanu Reeves playing Neo, the computer hacker who meets the mysterious and enigmatic Morpheus. Morpheus presents Neo with two choices: he can swallow a blue pill, and return to the world that he thinks he lives in. Alternatively, he can take the red pill and discover reality. A reality that is disconcerting but nonetheless truthful.

There are two reasons why I felt it perfectly encapsulated what I wanted to convey in terms of positioning, values etc.

Firstly, there’s a need for companies to understand where they really stand in the minds of their most important audience: their customers. Yep, those folk who decide whether you have food on your table, and can pay your bills. These are the people who’ll tell you what’s good, what’s bad and what needs to change regarding your products and services.

It’s very easy for Company Owners and Directors to fall in love with their offerings and fail to see things impartially because they’ve been so closely involved with it. Whether it’s ignorance, lack of time, lack of money, lack of knowledge, or a combination of all these, it’s easy to make excuses. But to steadfastly continue on a pre-set journey without seeking feedback from the very people that determine whether the company continues to trade? It’s crazy, right?

Customer research offers companies their own ‘reality check’. They get the perspective they need to move forward and succeed. Often it’s much needed. This is conveyed in my strapline: ‘See reality…through your customers. Take the Red Pill.’ Pretty straightforward really, isn’t it?

Secondly, and on a more personal level, it sums myself up pretty well. I’m not one for rose-tinted glasses. I like reality. I like seeing exactly which way the land lies. I abhor BS. And I’m not one for having the wool pulled over my eyes. And likewise, I don’t want my clients feeling the same.

I want Red Pill Insight+Marketing to be the most recognised, trusted, and authoritative provider of customer research and insight services among the SME business community. The ‘must go to’ insight provider. Both here in Glasgow, and around the country.

My brand ‘essence’ is that of straightforward, down-to-earth, research and marketing assistance to help you on your way to increased revenue and profits. There’s no nonsense but plenty of help, encouragement and enlightenment along the way.

Perhaps I should have called the business ‘Honest Broker Research+Marketing’ instead: what do you think?

So there you have it. Red Pill bared for all and sundry to see.

If you’ve got any questions either about this blog post, or other marketing and research issues, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can do so either by email, or on Twitter or hunting me down on LinkedIn.

Now, what’s coming up for future blog posts?

In no particular order, the following upcoming blog posts will focus on:-

  • Beds That Go Bump In The Night: comparing Serco’s Caledonian Sleeper (seated) with Stagecoach’s Megabus Gold (probably a post for each)
  • You Know You’re In Trouble When…  – social media and content marketing
  • A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing – the difference between knowing something and really knowing what you’re talking about.
  • Small business research and the Market Research Society

There’s also more research-related stuff. I’m currently wondering whether to publish them as blog posts or as standalone pages on the website. Time will tell.

Got a few minutes to spare? Here’s the famous Red Pill vs Blue Pill scene from The Matrix.  And if you’ve more time, here’s the parody in which Neo seems to have got a heck of a lot younger!

Until next time…and there will be a next time!