Anyone paying attention to the absurdity of the US presidential candidates' claims has seen exactly what I'm talking about. Research can be manipulated to say anything about anything.
Most research, as is the case in politics, is used in an attempt to defend or prove a position (or decision in business) that has already been made. You can always find some numbers to say something that defends the dipshit statement you just made.
I've long advocated using legitimate data to guide decision making, but I'm also a realist. Agree with ESG data, you'll use it to say "I told you so!" to the world. Disagree and you'll either ignore it, or tell everyone that we must have been smoking some crack when we came up with those numbers!
The power of research used to sell something is inarguable. It's often stunningly senseless—but tremendously effective.
Case in point: 5 Hour Energy (www.5hourenergy.com) has a commercial out now that begins with a sharply dressed business looking woman sitting on a desk, next to a stack of thousands of sheets of paper. She states that 5 Hour Energy "asked over 3,000 medical doctors to review 5 Hour Energy, and the results were amazing."
Between the lines: Asked them what???
Here's the amazing part: "Over 73% of those who reviewed 5 Hour Energy said they would recommend a low calorie energy supplement for their healthy patients who take an energy supplement."
Read that again.
Over 73% of those who reviewed 5 Hour Energy.....how many was that exactly? Four or 2,600?
.....said they would recommend a low calorie energy supplement for their healthy patients who take an energy supplement....WOW!!! That's the money shot! No one said they would recommend 5 Hour Energy—only that if their patient was already taking an energy supplement, they should take a diet version. 27% apparently disagreed and felt a higher calorie version of energy drink would be a better idea. Who the hell are these nitwit doctors?
My point is the entire "research" is completely and totally useless. It says nothing. Nothing at all.
Yet as my dad used to tell me, "It's not what you say, it's how you say it."
I have no idea how many people actually see this commercial and think, wow, there is serious medical research behind this product and go buy it, but i'm sure it's a lot.
"Nine out of 10 dentists surveyed whose patients chew gum, recommend chewing sugarless gum." No shit. The other guy is the only one honest enough to realize his business is predicated on the dopes who chew sugared gum and drink gallons of straight Coke.
Good research can make a legitimate decision/argument compelling, but even bullshit research can make you buy something.