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Effective Research For Better Business Decisions

Effective research helps your organization make better market, customer, and product decisions.  It is one of the key ways you are both proving and improving the value of Marketing. Gathering the facts and data needed for analysis and ultimately insights, whether it is customer purchasing behavioral data, buying criteria, product preferences, competitive intelligence, or general industry trends – requires research.

Research in its most basic form means to inquire, to examine. There is a rigor to research. It begins with a question and the question helps you formulate your approach or methodology. Research enables you to:

  • Ask the questions you want to ask.
  • Begin with and test a hypothesis. It requires a representative sample for results to be valid and reliable.
  • Predict what might happen in the future.
Stretch your research dollars

Research is Important to Data-Derived Decisions. Make Your Dollars Count.

When conducting market and customer research you may want to learn the answers to the following types of questions:

  • What is the customers’ problem/need?
  • Would they consider your products or service as a good solution? Why or why not?
  • Do they have enough money to purchase your product or service and would they use these funds to make such a purchase?
  • Do they have access to your product or service?
  • What is their buying criteria, supplier preferences, and buying process and where is the decision making power?
  • What information, and in what form do they need it, in order to make a decision?

And the list goes on. If you’re like many of the Marketing leaders with whom we work, you often have more questions than you have time or money to answer.

Three Ways to Stretch Your Research Dollars

Stretch your market and customer research dollars.

Once you prioritize your questions, you can start your research. Whether you do it by digging into existing data or capturing new data either on your own or by tapping experts, research takes time and money. And money is often is short supply. So here are three ways to stretch your research dollars.

First, consider leveraging secondary research. Sometimes data published by industry associations, government agencies, and consumer organizations is close enough that the results are suitable for your own purposes.

Second, tap your current customers and contacts within easy reach. For example, engage your customer advisory board. Another simple and fast way to conduct cost-effective research is to develop a few questions that you can train all your outward facing employees to ask each and every time they connect with prospects, customers, and suppliers. The questions will need to be asked the same way each time and each person will need to input the answers into a common database. Here are four questions to consider:

  1. What is the biggest problem that wakes you up at 2:00 in the morning or keeps you awake at night?
  2. What one thing might help make this problem go away?
  3. Other than price, if you could change one thing about our products or services what would it be?
  4. Other than price, if you could change one thing about any of our competitors’ products or services what would it

While there may be some biases and other issues associated with the results, if you capture enough data you should be able to see some trends and patterns. Learn how some of our customers used research to make important business decisions.

Third, stretch your dollars by joining forces with another company in a comparable market. Not a competitor of course, but someone with a complimentary product who would benefit from the same research within the same target market. Once you find a company willing to do a joint study, decide what information would be beneficial to both of you and hire a third party to conduct the study.

In conclusion, effective Marketing requires research and as marketers we want to make sure that we are using our resources as effectively and efficiently as possible. Using these three cost-effective tips will help you conduct outstanding and relevant research. Also, please don’t hesitate to tap our expertise by requesting a free 20-minute conversation, to explore how we can help you.

 

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