Who Needs a Physical Location? You May Be Surprised!

Some of my favorite authors/social economists do a great job of cautioning us to beware of “conventionally held wisdom”–Dan Ariely and Steven Levitt are two that immediately come to mind. It’s so easy to get swept up by conventional wisdom and then, unfortunately, to act based on that wisdom–whether it reflects reality or not.

A common example these days is the commonly held wisdom that electronic and online is better. Getting news online is better. Banking online is better. Learning online is better. Shopping online is better. Yes, all of these things can be better, some of the time, for some of the people. But, believe they are better all of the time and for all of the people to your own peril!

In fact, I’ve been interested over the past few years to follow research on online behaviors, and conduct some very basic research of my own. As a lecturer at a local university, I teach courses in marketing research and during the semester lead students through a marketing research process that involves, secondary, qualitative (focus group) and quantitative (survey) research.

Both during our in-class “practice sessions” and through their actual research I have been surprised to find that, contrary to what I would have believed, the college student population is not as interested in giving up person-to-person interaction in favor of technology as I would have thought.

These experiences made me curious about whether there might be a trend toward “more,” versus less, human interaction and I’ve written a few articles on the topic, including this one on the “digital generation’s tech fatigue.” During the process I also learned of a very interesting report by JWT called “Embracing Analog: Why Physical is Hot” which makes a strong case for a trend back toward more tangible interactions than this cohort has generally been involved with.

The point is, despite conventionally held wisdom that the world is clamoring for online interaction, the reverse may in some (perhaps many) cases be true. As we’ve seen with communication options throughout history, it’s generally not about one option replacing another, but about new options augmenting existing options.

Ultimately, what you don’t know can hurt you. Don’t be swayed by conventional wisdom that may not be correct, or may not reflect your target audience’s needs, desires or interests.

Check it out. A little research can go a long way!

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

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