January 2012

Why Bother with Market Research?


Dear Reader

Experience shows that the most successful businesses are those with the clearest picture of what they are doing, and what they need to change or do better.

Put another way, there’s a direct link between reliable information and success. Which is why Market Research is so valuable. It’s a proven, flexible way of getting reliable insight to help you make better, more profitable business decisions – which is especially important in a troubled economic climate.

In this newsletter we explore why you should bother with Market Research, and why it makes good business sense.

If you’d like to know more, do call us on +441235 812456.

Happy reading!

Martin Holliss

e: martinh@research-insight.com
t: +44 1235 812 456
m: +44 7931 376501

So Why Bother with Market Research?

By uncovering the honest, and sometimes closely-guarded, views of people who are important to you (eg your customers, prospects or staff), Market Research will help you make better-informed, more profitable, decisions.

Of course it’s possible still to make bad decisions even when armed with reliable information. But if you don’t have good information in the first place, your decisions will be based on shaky hunches and guesswork…and will be much more likely to be flawed.

Market Research will highlight what you are doing well, what you’re doing less well and, crucially, what your competitors are doing better than you. Armed with this vital information you’ll be able to improve what you do.

Discover why customers buy from you

For example, detailed knowledge about why customers buy from you (not from your competitors will deepen your competitive advantage (for more on the importance of customer views see our special feature below). So, while your competitors are losing out because they are offering an inferior product or service, you’ll be protecting – and even increasing – your sales.

Get intelligence on existing and new markets

Do you need to know what new markets there are for your existing product – where else or to who else you could be selling? Entering a new market is never easy, but the information you get from Market Research will enable you to review and prioritise new markets according to their potential. This will increase your chance of success if and when you decide to take the plunge. And entering a new market at a time (eg like now) when your competitors are holding back will put you in a strong position when the economy starts to recover.

Boost the commitment of your staff

Market Research can help your business in other ways too. For example, it can tell you about employees’ motivation and level of commitment. Assuming you are willing to consider and act upon what your staff are saying, expect massively positive results. Morale and team co-operation will increase, and staff turnover will fall. Your customers will notice the difference too.

In short, Market Research can address a wide range of issues, giving you valuable insight that will lead to more reliable decisions, happier and more loyal staff and a more successful business.

Click here for a short YouTube clip, and a few more thoughts on why you should bother with Market Research.

How your customers can give your business the edge

Your customers are one of the most valuable resources available to your business. So how can Market Research help you make the most of them?

First-hand information about your customer experience

If you ask your customers, they’ll tell you ways in which your service is good but also, vitally, how it can be improved. For instance, two industrial clients of ours (in very different fields) discovered that they were dramatically slower to deliver than their competitors, at two key stages. Both analysed and found ways to streamline their admin and manufacturing processes, and now deliver faster than many of their competitors. Their customers are delighted!

Building the relationship – and good ideas

There’s another benefit of asking customers what you could be doing better. Even if they have only positive things to say about you, they will appreciate the fact that you asked. And they are also very likely to have some really good suggestions on how to improve your service.

A 360º view

As well as researching your existing customers, don’t forget or ignore the views of lapsed customers – and of prospects too. By better understanding their needs and experiences you’ll discover lots of ways you could be doing better. Just asking lapsed customers why they’ve stopped buying from you (and started buying from a competitor?) will prove hugely powerful – you may be surprised how much detailed information they’ll share.

A clear view of your competitors

Lastly, your competitors’ customers are a hugely valuable source of market intelligence. Not only can Market Research help establish why they are buying from your competitors (ie not from you), but you are extremely likely to learn about initiatives that are proving successful for your competitors, and which you could either copy or counter. You may not be able to talk to your competitors or their customers, but we definitely can.

LinkedIn Question

This month we’ve posed the following question on LinkedIn:

How is your business using market research to stay ahead of your competitors?

You can click on the link above to tell us more. And if you’d like to ask us a question we’ll do our very best to answer it.