Shaping your approach to market research can make the difference between money well spent and money wasted. Whether marketing for a market research firm or starting a new company, the right approach is vital to accomplishing your goals. According to Greenbook, 35% of companies increased their market research spend in 2012.
Companies are gathering business intelligence data to improve their company and evaluate new opportunities; however, there are factors that you must consider before even pulling your checkbook out.
The worst move you can make is to rush hastily into research without answering some key questions. Going through this personal Q&A process will make your next cup of coffee a celebratory one, because research greatness is on the horizon due to your thoughtful preparation.
Ask yourself these 10 questions before you move a market research muscle:
- What's your biggest pain point?
Identify the key areas affecting your organization. This isn't an easy task. Like an iceberg, you can only see 20% of the actual situation. The hidden 80% will trip you up. Combat this by spending time analyzing the limitations you want to overcome or the opportunities you want to explore.
- How much are your challenges costing you?
The answer to this question may be the bane of your senior executive team's existence, but it is a critical bit of information to know. A decision must be made on whether it's financially worth conducting market research.
- What goals do you want to accomplish by conducting research?
An endeavor without a goal is just brainstorming. To know where to start, you have to determine where your endgame is. It seems intuitive, but it is very easy to get caught up in evaluation and analysis.
- What resources do you have available to conduct market research?
In terms of allocation, you must determine what you have at your disposal. Determining budgets and bandwidth determines how you proceed. According to Greenbook, 38% of companies increased their spending in 2012. Time commitments are required and expenses are inevitable, but market research is a critical part of business and you must be able to articulate its benefits to your CFO.
- Are you objective enough to conduct the research on your own?
Time constraints and cost effectiveness weigh greatly when it comes to determining whether to perform research in-house or outsource it. Knowing what kind of research you need is important. Ensure that your decision is based on objectivity. Choose the the option that has the best chance of reaching your research goals.
- Is the opportunity worth the investment?
From a qualitative standpoint, you should determine whether conducting research on a particular goal is going to directly affect your bottom line. If the end result is unlikely to increase revenue, then there's no real point in going down the market research road.
- What's the competition doing?
Having a solid understanding of how your competitors position themselves is critical. By intimately knowing your competition, you can identify areas of distinction and strategize ways to pounce on the right opportunity.
- Where is the best place to get your data?
You should determine from whom you want to get your information, so you can know how to approach your research. Segments react differently depending on your objective. Create profiles for your research targets and alter your approach accordingly.
- What long-term effects will the research have on your company?
Forecasting how your research efforts will shape your organization is essential to the credibility of your research. You will either find an area that you can take advantage of, or an area of weakness that you will need to fortify.
- What will you do with the results of your research?
This is the most important question to answer. After you accomplish the goals initially set when conducting market research, you must then determine the next course of action. Armed with this new knowledge, you will need to determine how to implement your findings and apply it to your business model.
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