Is Your Marketing Strategy Based on Hope or Reality?
We all make assumptions. Every day, B2B and B2C businesses assume they know what their customers and prospects want and how they feel about the service and products they experience. The real question is what are these assumptions based on – research or hope?
Hope is a critical quality beneficial for almost all areas of life and business. Realistic optimism can fuel an entrepreneur and established business leader’s drive, taking a business a long way toward carving out a profitable and enduring legacy. However, when hope forms the basis of a marketing strategy that is not undergirded by solid primary and secondary market research, peril is probable.
Any business, firm or entrepreneur that wants to grow, must understand what it does well and what matters to its customers.
Critical Questions to Ask
If you are reading this and wondering what your business strategy is based upon, your answers to the following questions may provide insight into how well your business is actually positioned to succeed:
- Do you know your firm’s reputation, perception, differentiators in the market and why you matter to your customers?
- Do you know your brand story/elevator pitch?
- Do you have a growth strategy?
- Are your customers and employees satisfied?
- Are you using hope as a strategy?
If your answer to the last question is ‘yes,’ it’s time to turn to market research and understand how it can help your idea come to fruition or your business to grow.
The Reason for Market Research
Market research is important for 5 key reasons:
- It’s good for business.
- It allows you to set benchmarks for your company to be measured and monitored.
- It lets you start making business decisions based on data instead of assumptions.
- It is profitable.
- Firms that use research grow 3 to 10 times faster and are up to twice as profitable as those that don’t use market research.
Types of Research Worth Paying For
It helps to view market research as an investment into your company. Since it can be costly, it’s important to consider what types of research are most valuable for your business. Generally, there are two categories of research: Primary and Secondary. Primary research is original or primary data carried out to answer specific issues or questions. It can involve questionnaires, surveys or interviews with individuals or small groups. Secondary research makes use of information previously researched for other purposes and is publicly available. Both are helpful for informing effective marketing strategy.
Within those two categories, research executions can be quantitative or qualitative in nature. Examples of each follow:
- Quantitative Research Types: Structured data; objective conclusions; statistical, mathematical or numerical data analysis; surveys/polls; industry trends and reports.
- Qualitative Research Types: Unstructured data; subjective conclusions; deeper understanding of opinions, motivations, emotions, attitudes and behaviors; key stakeholder interviews; focus groups; strategic planning roundtables; client debriefs; customer journey mapping.
The right mix of data categories and types is necessary for adequately informing marketing strategy that will help you accomplish your unique and specific business objectives. That mix can help you understand your market position and competitive landscape; company strengths and weaknesses; opportunities for new products; consideration drivers and so much more.
The Payoff of Market Research
The goal of any market research endeavor should be to come away with data, insights, trends and an actionable plan that informs decisions that will have the most impact on your organization.
[Insert Market Research Payoff Graphic, which is in the OBI social asset drive]
The result of your market research may be to reduce risk and increase efficiency in the area of marketing or business practices and products or operations. It will be different for each organization and will be revealed by the research itself. The quality of your results will depend on the quality of your research. Who you trust to perform your market research is therefore just as critical as actually undertaking the research in the first place. As a full-service advertising agency, OBI Creative understands that and is privileged to walk marketing concepts through from research to execution, refinement and research again regularly with our clients. We believe this is the best way to perform marketing efforts because we know from experience that this approach drives the best return on marketing investments.
The ROI for a fact-based market research approach that leads to insights, which drives strategy and eventually creative execution includes:
- Increased customer acquisition
- Improved processes
- Customer retention and satisfaction
- Employee retention and satisfaction
- Employee recruitment
- Informed and efficient marketing strategy/plan
- Unified message and position
After looking over that list, it’s hard to think of a reason you wouldn’t want those benefits for your business. If you’re ready to talk more about a research approach that could inform better marketing strategy for your business, we’d love to hear from you.
What questions do you have about the value of market research? When have you tried research in the past? How did it impact your objectives and sales results? What is your strategy for growth based upon?