Market research is one of the most important investments you can make as a company. While it doesn’t, itself provide you with revenue, like sales, or prevent loss and retain customers like customer services, it informs your whole approach and decision making process. Data is vital for making decisions you can rely on to drive success in the long term, as well as decisions you can stand up and defend with clear conscience, whether you’re accounting for your use of resources to a board, or to investors or simply explaining to your employees why you’re asking for a change of processes.
As with so much in business, you can do this well or badly. Or to put it another way, if you don’t optimise your market research strategy, or you’ll spend too much and achieve too little. Today we’re looking at a few ways you can optimise your market research strategy and plan for long term success.
Find the Right Company
When you’re beginning your market research programmes, don’t go for the first option you find. There are lots of different market research companies, and you need to find the one that fits your approach and your brand. Think about it like this: if you were going to hire a cleaner for your office, you take the time to research and find a company that specialises in commercial cleaning, offers suitable service for your budget and comes highly recommended. You should extend at least that much respect to picking a market research firm.
If they don’t have the expertise and reach to get data from your market, you won’t get useful results from them. If your brand mostly targets professionals in their 20s and 30s you need a digital focussed research team to reach them and get data – if you pick a market research company that focuses on cold calling landlines you simply won’t get valuable results.
Once you pick the right company, you might also need to sit with them and discuss the strategies you have in mind to begin the market research. This might require some information to understand how to plan the research. Factors like the consumer market you will be targeting, the sample size for conducting surveys (this can be determined using a sample size formula for your product/service), the features you will be marketing, and a lot of other details go into a comprehensive market research strategy. If you take the help of market research companies, they might be able to help you understand these factors better and put a plan into place.
Not An Afterthought
You need to be building market research into your plans from day one.
If you’re not ringfencing budget from your initial investment to devote to market research, you won’t be able to secure a research firm when you need one. This kind of data should never be an afterthought. Integrating a data lead approach into your business after the fact is challenging. It involves finding resources, changing processes and convincing people to change their attitude – whereas if it’s a core value from day one, everything can be shaped around it, from your budgeting down to decision making in weekly meetings.