In a recent edition of my local newspaper (yes, I’m one of the few still getting my hands smudged with ink), there were three articles on the Opinion page. Each was on a different subject, but they all shared a common thread. One compared the assumptions for the surprising results in recent election in Massachusetts, with the data that disputed those assumptions. Another article talked about the disparity of salary levels between private and public sector. Surprise again: the public salaries were rising faster and were significantly higher than those in the private sector. The third article talked about the negative poll numbers of our governor and the perception that he has done little, compared with a record that shows some impressive accomplishments.

The point of all this is two-fold. First, perception can be more powerful than the truth. Chew on that for a while and let me know how that tastes. And second, but more significant — when starting a product launch or a marketing campaign, perception can cause decisions to be made that are contrary to fact and can take you in the wrong direction.

It may be hard to justify the cost and time for research, but in the end, it can prove its weight in gold. Otherwise, perception might be like the lead lemming, directing you and all your efforts right over the cliff. And by the way, the perception that lemmings commit mass suicide — that’s completely false!