What is market research?
In simple terms, market research is the systematic process of collecting, analyzing, and presenting objective, useful marketing information to assist management in problem solving and decision making. We believe it can be defined as the process of understanding. Market research helps you understand what important groups of stakeholders think of you, what they feel about you, and what you mean to them. It also highlights what you can do to modify their perceptions in your favour. Market research should help management to identify, service, and satisfy the needs and desires of its customers.
What are the benefits of market research?
Research helps you uncover and understand factors that drive product or service choice, and result in customer or stakeholder satisfaction. Even trivial attributes can have a marked impact on the way people view a particular offering. Once you know how your stakeholders judge what you provide, you can modify the offering or your presentation of the offering so that the users find greater value in it – adding up to improved customer satisfaction. Research has helped countless organizations fine tune their approach to their markets to provide dramatic acceleration in profitability.
What if I don't do any research?
People tend to be either their own harshest critic or their own greatest admirer – either approach lacks the objectivity necessary to really understand how the market views your offering. Opinions are all well and good, but there is no substitute for knowing what is really going on in making effective, confident decisions about your organization.
When could it help my company?
The main reason many companies first turn to market research is when they strike a real problem. Why has that star product stopped growing? Why have product returns increased? The distribution base shrunk? Profits fallen? And so on. But there are many more scenarios in which insightful and dedicated research can offer dramatic return. Here are a few examples:
- When you lack all the information you need to make a decision
- When you are weighing alternatives
- When there is conflict in the organization about which direction to take
- When you detect symptoms of problems from your customer base
- When you embark on something different, such as new products, new packaging or new advertising campaigns
- When you wish to raise financing
- When you are contemplating a merger or acquisition