Universities and think tanks can afford to invest in exploratory research with little or no practical application. Young Company cannot. All of our work for paying clients is designed to assist in making specific business decisions regarding what their customers care about: optimal pricing, value propositions, service trade-offs, product features and benefits. We call it “decision focused” research because we work hard up front to determine what key strategic decisions our client will be making as a result of the research. From this, we then develop a research methodology that enables us to uncover the answers our clients need to hear to make better business decisions.
Below you will find three tips we always keeps in mind while conducting any research project:
Tip #1 – Benefits of Research
Market research enables you to identify and get to know your target audience—the people who have the most influence on the success of your organization, or a new program, product or service. From understanding what the customer really wants to gauging the size of the market and where you stand against the competition, research allows you to gain a well-rounded view of the marketplace. Then you can tailor your product, service or program to meet your target audience’s specific needs, instead of presuming you know without the research.
Tip #2 – Sustaining Momentum
Brand awareness is key to sustaining momentum post-launch, so a key next step is measuring your awareness level. This allows you to determine if customers know about and are familiar with your company, product or service. At this point, you recognize that your customer knows or doesn’t know you exist. Next, you want to know how those same people feel about your brand and why—and what are their actual opinions, experiences and attitudes towards your company, product or service.
Also, it is important to conduct benchmarking. Benchmarking is a way to track movement and changes. For example, if you completed brand awareness and image research before, you would do that research again with an identical or similar approach to measure any changes in awareness and image that have occurred since the last study was performed. Typically, organizations conduct benchmarking studies annually to provide insight into marketing, communications and advertising efforts, as well as to identify areas of opportunity.
Tip #3 – Types of Research to Explore
Depending on the purpose of the research, you will need to consider either quantitative (numbers-based) or qualitative (conversation-based), which range from face-to-face surveys to postal or online questionnaires to telephone interviews or focus groups. Whichever approach you decide on depends greatly on what information, knowledge and insights you need to move forward.
It is important to remember that your research is never done. Make sure you continue to conduct research to refine your product, service, program and overall company. Work out any challenges and prove to your audience that you are continuing to make improvements/adjustments to meet their needs and expectations. And naturally, your audience’s motivations and behavior will change over time so you will want to revisit and update research on a regular basis.
What is your success story where research put you one step ahead of the competition? Share them with me!