Getting good data: it’s the key to making good decisions. Accurate information enables businesses to anticipate and respond to market demand and, hopefully, turn a profit at the end of the day.
Historically, businesses either used existing sales figures to facilitate insight, or they conducted their own market research using surveys, focus groups, interviews, etc. Indeed, most of today’s large companies still have separate departments dedicated to finding either external (market research) or internal (analytics) verification for their business decisions. As the times continue to change, however, the distinction between market research and analytics is getting smaller and smaller. Modern technologies have facilitated the collection and storage of big data sets; there is simply more information than ever before. This doesn’t mean that market research and analytics should now be combined into one, but rather that there is a recognizable advantage to leveraging the insights gleaned from each against the other to make more fully informed decisions. Here are three specific reasons why a combination of market research and analytics makes the most sense if you want truly valuable market intelligence:
Numbers Don’t Lie (But They Also Don’t Tell the Whole Story)
Market research can help you understand consumer perceptions, and business analytics provides a quick snapshot of consumer behavior. Looking solely at one or the other negates the importance of each. Sometimes consumers are not the most reliable sources for information — either they forget what they did and/or thought or they edit their responses to avoid embarrassment or appease an interviewer or skew survey results. And numbers, however accurate, don’t reveal anything about personal intent and can often be misinterpreted. However, if you compare the findings of each, you can gain a better appreciation of the market in its entirety.
The Infrastructure Exists, So Why Not Make Use of It?
Even just ten years ago, it was harder for companies to get the information they needed. But now, the ubiquity of the Internet and mobile phones makes it possible for all of us to be hyperconnected. Not only can we more easily socialize with friends, we can also more easily monitor and record all types of consumer behavior. Companies no longer need specialized phone systems in order to contact the masses, nor do they need expensive database systems or software programs to calculate sophisticated metrics. If you have a computer, you can start accessing loads of viable and valuable data via free tools like Google Analytics and Bitly. You can also easily target respondents if you want more personal feedback. It seems ill-considered not to explore how you can combine market research techniques with analytics and other big data capabilities since many basic systems are now readily available and lots more affordable.
In a Research Setting, Verification is Critical
The scientific process relies on observation and verification, with the best conclusions being the assumptions you observe again and again. It makes sense then that you can improve your market intelligence and your business decisions by verifying your market research against your own business analytics. Are there any discrepancies or anomalies? Is suspected market (i.e., consumer) behavior corroborated by your sales numbers? The answers to questions like these either help validate or discredit your conclusions, spurring you to action or forcing you back to the drawing board. Either way, you have more and better proof to support your decisions.
Want to Learn More?
There’s little doubt that market research and analytics, especially when combined, can help companies make better-informed business decisions. To learn how you can leverage your company’s existing sales numbers with quality market research, contact our team at Communications for Research (CFR). We can evaluate the data you already possess to see if further market research could benefit your bottom line.