Market Research is recognized by business experts as being fundamental to successful business planning and strategy – so if you’re overlooking research perhaps it’s time to have a rethink.
In today’s affluent society, people are no longer driven by needs and necessities, they are driven by desires and whims – a world where ‘emotions’ are dominant. So how do you fulfill customers’ demands? How do you maintain customer loyalty and grow your customer base in the fast-moving world we live in today?
Retail research shows that whilst major retailers like Tesco cut their ranges to remove slower selling items, resulting in 1,000 fewer packaged grocery items on shelves (a drop of 6.3%), the research also showed that 13% fewer new branded items were launched in 2015 compared with 2013. These figures suggest that brands must be thorough in their NPD and ensure failure is not an option.
Ultimately understanding the customer and what influences them is essential to brand survival in this modern world.
The Wisdom of Crowds
Research is extremely powerful and has been shown to be more powerful than any expert individual. One reason for this is that research builds on the notion of Crowdology and the wisdom of the crowd. As Marcus du Sautoy proved in his BBC documentary “The Code”, the crowd know far more than individuals.
Du Soutoy, repeated previous studies by taking a large jar of jellybeans and asking 160 people to guess the number of jellybeans in the jar. There were 4510 jellybeans in the jar and answers varied from 400 to 50,000, yet the average of the 160 answers was 4515, amazingly only 0.1% off the correct answer. This goes to show the importance of listening to customers.
Customer Centricity Breeds Success
Analysis of the world’s most successful companies has demonstrated that they have one thing in common, they all have a customer centric approach to their brand, product development and marketing. Whether you’re Apple, Coca-Cola or just starting up – it’s clear that strategic decisions need to be customer led. Whilst research often comes up with the unexpected, the benefit is that a good insight agency will always have the knowledge and ideas to help build a better future.
How Research Helps Build Strategy
Research and insight have many uses, but overall some of the key ways in which businesses benefit from market research, are:
- Identify market opportunities – Research enables gaps in the market to be spotted and capitalized upon.
- Guide and improve your communication – Understanding your customers is the best way to understand how interact with customers to ensure your brand makes an impact.
- Minimize risks and avoid costly mistakes – With detailed knowledge of what customers are looking for and knowing any barriers to using your product are the most effective ways of making costly mistakes.
- Measure customer satisfaction and your reputation – The importance of listening to your customers and ensuring they are satisfied is the secret to success for most businesses and cannot be underestimated.
- Measure Brand Equity and market positioning – A brand only exists in the mind of the customer, research can help you understand what your brand means to people (proposition and positioning) and identify the potential for growth
- Discover customer typologies and segments – Age, gender or hobbies can all influence spending habits and more sophisticated segmentation methods allow you to target your communications more effectively.
- Better understand your competitors – Research helps you keep a close eye on them. Learn from what they do well and what they do badly.
Professional researchers know other people’s hearts and minds at a level that most of us can only aspire to. It is easy to see why as these researchers spend their lives talking to people delving into their conscious and subconscious minds – investigating anything and everything.
Good researchers will find you the most fitting method of data collection relevant for the job, be it quantitative or qualitative research, or a combination of the two.
Quantitative research provides facts and figures while qualitative research is more subjective but provides deeper thoughts and ideas that are ideal for discovering new solutions that can transform your business and marketing.
‘Research is and always will be an Investment’
Market research is an investment and minimizes risk. Successful management of a brand or product involves deep knowledge of customers and competitors while looking forward.