Many people don’t believe that marketing research can accurately predict everything about everybody. That’s not only true, it’s very rational.

There’s no disputing the fact that research can’t determine every detail about each individual’s behavior. But, it’s also true that 80% of human behavior is very predictable (including the fact that humans aren’t always rational).

For example, it’s impossible to predict whether or not you’ll be run over a bus as you leave the coffee shop. But, the likelihood of you getting into your car instead of your bike (after you dodge that bus), turning right at the next intersection, and then exceeding the speed limit, is extremely predictable.

That’s because well-crafted research identifies how you (and people like you) think when you make decisions. And, this series of thought patterns reveal with great accuracy how you’ll respond to the various choices you confront in your daily life.

So, is it research or Sherlock Holmes-like deductive reasoning that provides insight into your individual behavior? And, should you be uncomfortable with the precision with which these predictions can be made?

The good news is that “big brother” does not have nefarious intentions for you, or any individual. You can remain happily anonymous as profiles are developed on the shopping patterns of people who purchase the same kinds of merchandise you do.

Marketing research enables retailers to compile data on the preferred shopping experiences of specific demographic groups, then send targeted mailers to those groups which include coupons on the items they desire.

These retailers aren’t interested in who you are — they’re interested in what you want. This data enables them to provide you and your fellow consumers with timely information on how the retailer’s offerings meet your group’s needs.

Granted, the more information they gather on the purchases you make, the more accurate your individual profile becomes (and the more accurate the “Holmesian deductions” about your preferences become).

But, the end result is that the experience you receive from these marketing savvy companies become increasingly reflective of experience you prefer. And, thus, your experience is optimized.

Research helps companies serve you better, and helps you become a more effective and efficient consumer.

It’s elementary, my dear Watson.