Virtually all businesses would agree that market research is valuable. Yet some of them -- and particularly newer firms -- believe that market research is only necessary or applicable when there is a specific research question to answer like “what should we call our new project management app?” or “what colors options should we offer in our new line of wall coverings?”
Naturally, market research is ideally suited for answering these questions, because it taps into the most valuable and important data source of all: “the voice of the customer.” However, the belief that market research begins and ends with answering specific questions is incorrect. The value of market research is MUCH broader, and can be used to address these 3 common business problems:
Who are our most profitable customers?
At first glance, this problem may not seem all that problematic. That is, businesses may think that their most profitable customers are (obviously) those from whom they generate the most profit.
However, if they use market research to go below the surface, these same businesses will typically realize – rather astonishingly – that their most profitable customers are those to whom they could sell more or different solutions. In other words, current customers who are valuable – yet not deemed among the most profitable – could very well become the MOST profitable if they are engaged differently.
Furthermore, these customers may not yet exist within the business’s current target audience, and as such market research can point to new markets and, ultimately, more profitable customers. For example, a business that provides office relocation solutions may discover, thanks to market research, that it should start targeting two new customer groups: facility managers and office furniture dealers.
What do our customers really want?
Yet again, this seems like a pointless tautological inquiry: customers want, what customers want! That is, businesses can clearly see what their customers are buying, the statements they are making, and the questions they are asking, and from this data derive what their customers want.
However, market research goes much further than this by going directly to current and prospective customers, and uncovering what they like, dislike, want and don’t want – and in what order of priority or importance. These are powerful insights that cannot be gleaned by the “reverse engineering” method described above, which looks at what customers do, and attempts to glean their motivations. Market research is not a passive approach: it actively sheds light on WHY customers behave in certain ways, and WHY they don’t move forward into a transaction (or even if they do make a purchase, what it would take for them to buy more). Equipped with this data, businesses can optimize everything from product development to customer service programs to improve mindshare, marketshare, revenues and profits.
Are we on track for a successful future?
All businesses – whether they are ambitious new start-ups, or established multinational enterprises – must focus on this week, month, quarter and year. Yet the most successful businesses in the world are those that anticipate changes in their marketplace, and make proactive adjustments that put them in the right position, at the right time, with the right products, programs and pricing.
Market research is not just the best way for businesses to effectively gaze into the future, but it is essentially the only way they can do so in a safe and confident data-driven manner. Otherwise, they are forced to rely on their own opinions -- which, unfortunately, could be (and often is) perilous sooner or later. As noted by MarketingProfs.com: “While focusing on maximizing short-term results is easy, focusing too much on the short-run limits your brand’s longevity and relevancy in the future. If you aren’t keeping up with consumer, and product and category disruptions, someone else will."
At Communications For Research, we fully understand that our clients are not interested in market research for the sake of market research; and for that matter, neither are we. As a proven business solutions company, we know that our clients need reliable and high quality actionable insights that address their problems, achieve their goals, and elevate them to the next level.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business answer its most important – and most profitable – questions. We're excited to learn more about you and the “real world” problems that your business faces today, and what research solutions can be executed on to solve them.