One of the great insights of psychology research is that the way we ask a question has significant bearing on the way people will respond, and therefore on the kind of data we’re likely to collect. Seeing the response to our poll question this week has revealed to us how true that is, and also shown us that product people are close readers.

Both our debaters and those of you on social media took issue with our question: does responsibility equal ownership? What exactly did we mean? Many told us that our poll is incomplete without a “none of the above” option. Nostra culpa. But sometimes mistakes have unintended positive consequences, and it looks like our question has revealed the extent to which customer research is a hot topic.

Our debaters, with their privilege of a nuanced answer, both stress how important it is for customer research to be a shared responsibility across multiple functions. But when forced to cast a vote, 60% of the poll takers did choose product management as the owners of customer research; 29% voted for product marketing, 8% for BI analysts, and only 2% for data scientists.

What do you think? Who should be in the driving seat when planning, conducting, and digesting customer research?


Facilitating customer research can be owned by anyone in the company who has the experience or skills. But customer research itself is collaborative, and everyone involved in building a product is responsible for understanding assumptions, constraints, and requirements. This collaboration is the foundation for making better product decisions.

Holly Kennedy

Head of Product, 15Five

Wrong Question!

I find the question itself wrong. In today's world, an organization that is not 100% customer oriented (or as Amazon dubs it, customer obsession) will fail. This means that if the organization does not intimately (!!!) know their customers they are doomed to fail. Knowledge should include not only all the usage patterns and data - but also the emotions of the users. Who is responsible? Every employee of the company. Period.

David Schwartz

VP Product, Wix