Creating strong market research strategies is key for any business. In fact, a large degree of your success hinges on it. Whether you are an established company or an entrepreneur setting out on a new business venture, you must aim to carryout a strategy that has very few flaws. And, while your overall research goals will be unique, a mistake in your research strategy could be equally detrimental. In this two-part blog, we will address some of these common mistakes in order to help you recognize, avoid, and/or correct them.
Mistake #1: Not clearly defining your market research objectives.
Having ill-defined research objectives is arguably the most common mistake when it comes to market research strategies. Particularly for newer companies or researchers, the amount of information available can be overwhelming, to say the least. With so much research at your fingertips, you must be prepared to dive in with very clearly defined objectives. So, companies must decide beforehand why they need the research and what specifically they are seeking to learn. You must predetermine your research questions. Otherwise, it will be extremely difficult to ensure that the research will address your needs. Without explicit expectations and objectives, your chances of producing clear and informative results is not very likely.
Mistake #2: Conducting interesting, but useless, market research.
Just because something is interesting doesn't mean it's useful. Another caveat of market research is failing to quickly identify the most useful information before engaging too much in the research that may be intriguing but will not help reach your overall research objectives. This discretion is highly valuable when it comes to saving time and money. You must make certain that the research you gather and conduct is clearly defined and highly targeted to your needs specifically, not just to your industry or vertical. That's also why Mistake #1 is so important (and first on our list), in making it you can easily fall victim to a cascading effect of more and more mistakes.
Mistake #3: Letting the questions do the heavy lifting.
Clearly, excellent questions are the key to successful market research strategies. However, it's possible to ask too many questions. If your goal is to uncover one very specific finding, you don't necessarily need to come up with a long list of questions to reach a conclusion. You shouldn't make the mistake of "over preparing" for your research. So, instead of letting your questions do all the heavy lifting, make sure the questions you do prepare are the right ones and are direct enough to get at the core of your needs.
Mistake #4: Simplifying results out of context.
Context is everything. How many times have you walked in on a conversation and heard something totally alarming only to find out that the person meant something completely different? But, how could you know better when you didn't have any context? When things are taken out of context, the end result is...well, let's just say it's usually not positive. The same goes for market research. Most market research reports are far too detailed to be reduced to a single number, statistic or even statement. So, it is probably wise not to try and do so. When summarizing and simplifying research, it is absolutely imperative that each and every point remains in the same context in which it was originally stated. Otherwise, you run the risk of presenting, even unknowingly, incorrect information that could, consequently, have hugely negative effects. Because of the vital importance of context to the end result of your research, you should never oversimplify results or remove context to try and sell an idea.
Mistake #5: UNDER analyzing the research.
Whether conducting your own or gathering existing reports, market research can often times seem like a daunting task. Faced with a mentally demanding job, Market Researchers are asked to not only review high volumes of information quickly, but they are also expected to absorb and analyze that material to the point of complete understanding, regardless of their prior knowledge on the subject. One mistake companies often make is allowing their research to be under analyzed. You must be able to fully understand the data and conclusions of a report, but you also need to be able to translate and explain it to your colleagues. If you do not gain an in-depth understanding of your research, your results will probably not be as you had hoped.
Don't forget to check out our second post in the series, Market Research Strategies: 10 Common Mistakes, Part 2!
Thanks for reading!