The one question - market research realities asks what you forgot to ask

A research challenge by Dave McCaughan

Go on .. think about it! “what is that one question that in all your experience and time and effort as a market researcher you never asked but wished you had ?”

We all have one. We do! I know because I asked experts.

I have been pottering around in the MR world for over three decades working with researchers of all kinds and have often heard that self-condemning “I guess we should have asked ….”. I know I have done it often enough myself. Finished some focus groups and realised that perhaps there was hidden gold in something obvious we did not ask. Or more lately using AI platforms to research narratives and realising we could have asked the machine something extra and got more. Sometimes these lost questions are small opportunities missed, sometimes the aggregation of years of experience.

So lately I have had the opportunity to ask some of the world’s leading market researchers what they think they should have asked and but have not done so. With my co-host Kevin Gray we have now recorded over twenty five episodes of our audio podcast “MR Realities”. Every few weeks we talk with an expert in some aspect of MR about what they see as the trend, the future and the frustrations of their particular field. We have interviewed academics, agency managers and practioners from around the world. Qual, quant, semiotics, AI, China youth, Indian health. Specialists of all kinds. And at the end of each of our forty odd minute chats I end with that same question “what is that one question you never asked but wish you had?”.

So here goes with a quick summary of what those unspoken questions are and what they might help achieve (in RW October issue, available to members in MyESOMAR).

Dave McCaughan is storyteller@Bibliosexual and chief strategy officer at