Virtually all leading business experts agree that market research is important. The world is constantly changing, and as a society we are constantly updating our thinking and discovering new experiences – largely due to the overwhelming bombardment coming from media and technological innovations which hit the market every day. As such, new values and behaviours are constantly emerging (and old ones disappearing) and consequently we see new consumer segments come and go. Perhaps one of the key reasons why market research matters to your business is that all to often businesses make expensive or even fatal mistakes – often simply because they take their finger off the pulse and fail to understand the changing world outside their own four office walls.
Market research is widely accepted as essential to any brand’s long-term success. Research is a science and an art, and is largely built on the scientifically proven notion of the ‘Wisdom of the Crowd’ and why ‘the many’ are smarter than the few. This short video below by the BBC (The Code) helps illustrate the power of the many. If you are looking for more detail, then the book ‘The Wisdom of Crowds ‘is worth a read.
Using specialist market research companies to provide independent (impartial) and accurate information & knowledge is critical to any organisation looking to grow or improve its business. Here are a couple of ways in which research can help you.
1. Customer Centric – Market research helps to centre your business priorities on your customers
The larger the organisation the more likely internal politics, agenda and bureauorcracy will interfere with your organisations goals of understanding and delivering the best products and services. In most cases it is sensible to assume the people who know best about what your customers want are the customers themselves (and not the board members in your organisation). So simply ensuring regular engagement with your customers through market research and customer satisfaction surveys is vital to ensure your organisation is continuously monitoring changes and ensuring you are meeting (or exceeding) your customer needs.
2. Smarter decision making for greater success
It can be tough for businesses to make money in this competitive global economy – but getting it right can pay huge dividends. When used properly, both qualitative (focus groups, depth interviews) and quantitative (online, telephone, face to face surveys) market research should tell you what’s most important to your target market and help you to prioritise your time and investment effectively. Market research helps the decision making process in numerous ways – informing both your short-term and long-term strategy, help you develop new products and services and optimise your brand and communications.
Conducting regular research with your customers enables you to make sure you are constantly adapting and evolving and changing with the times… and if you aren’t keeping up with the customer or the latest product developments then someone else will!
Some of the best ways Market Research Companies can help you
The uses for customer and (B2B) business market research are almost endless. However, at Vision One we have found that some of the most common research projects we encounter have the following business objectives.
1. Optimise brand strategy and positioning
All brands and marketers are looking to position their brand uniquely in the marketplace ahead of their competitors. Focus groups are ideal for understanding the nuances of what your brand means to customers and how it can be repositioned or improved. Quantitative brand tracking research studies are ideal for brand health measurement and monitoring how your brand is performing over time along with keeping an eye on your competition.
2. Better Understand your target market
Market research is the ideal way of discovering new insights and gleaning a better understanding of your market, who your buyers and potential buyers are, and understanding their needs and wants. By focusing your attention on the right people and market segments, you should see faster improvements in all areas of your business, with improved efficiency and greater overall performance from your marketing activity. In addition, if your target market is already well defined, you can use customer and shopper research to uncover the critical drivers of behaviour and the factors that influence their purchase decisions.
3. Optimise your messaging and communication
Most market research experts agree that the execution and the creative idea around it is the biggest driver of advertising and marketing success. Our messaging and brand communications need to resonate with our audiences, and this is typically achieved through advertising research, design and packaging research, or website usability testing. Marketing research is the ideal way to test ideas and concepts and key messages to evaluate which ones have most traction.
4. Innovation and New Product Development (NPD)
NPD and Innovation is a key part of any growth strategy and conducting market research enables you to focus your innovation efforts on the highest growth opportunities for your brand. Our research shows that many ideas fail to make it to the market because they are unable to find the right proposition and positioning (rather than simply being silly ideas). Qualitative research agencies and focus group companies will help you optimise the design of your product or service and ensure all the key benefits and features are correctly communicated to meet your consumers’ needs, and interests
In today’s modern global market, market research is not just helpful; it is essential – so talk to the experts and you’ll soon be reaping dividends. Just remember, that it is no coincidence that there is not one leading organisation in the world that doesn’t rate or use market research as a vital component to their success.