All marketers will agree that market research is important. Because the media landscape is in a constant state of flux and marketers are constantly overwhelmed with data and business priorities, though, marketers tend to shave timelines, do "internal" research, and lose sight of the need for consumer marketing research for their organization.
Market research, however, is essential to you and your brand’s long-term success. Market research will keep your brand afloat while companies who fail to make research a high priority drown.
Market research should be bumped to the top of your priority list for the following five key reasons.
1. Market research centers your business on your consumers
We all get tripped up by internal politics, agendas, and internal brand priorities. However, some of the best advice that I can give marketers and researchers is to remember that your customer is always your boss (even above your company's CEO). You need to keep the lines of communication open with your "boss" through research. Work hard at understanding and continuously meeting and/or exceeding consumer and customer needs. Even if you purchase your company’s products, you are not your consumer, and therefore, focusing on your consumers and their perspective is critical.
It keeps you focused
All marketers and marketing researchers today have a tough job multitasking and rightfully so. They are managing multiple projects, running businesses, and often playing many roles within their organization. However, when used properly, marketing research should tell you what’s most important to your consumers and help you to prioritize and maximize your time effectively. It can inform both your short-term and long-term marketing playbook, helping you feel less frazzled and overwhelmed in the long run.
3. It allows you to pursue the most lucrative growth opportunities
Marketers want to grow their business, but we are not always clear on which is the right path to do so. Marketing research can help you weigh and quantify opportunities to prioritize those with the highest revenue potential for your brand.
4. It keeps you relevant and future-oriented
We have all heard of the phrase “Adapt or Perish,” and that is true for our businesses and brands. Conducting regular research with consumers and customers enables us to make sure we are constantly adapting and evolving our brands to meet long-term needs. 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.
5. It improves your decision-making capabilities and reduces your risk.
Market research can provide insightful information about your market, product, audience, competition, and more. When you use a comprehensive research library, you can make decisions with greater clarity and confidence. By having research to backup your marketing decisions, you can optimize your brand strategy choices and minimize your risk for failure.
So now that we have established why marketing research should be a top priority, let’s discuss for the best ways to use it! After all, a research study’s results are only as good as its ability to accomplish its key objectives.
The Best Ways to Use Marketing Research
The uses for market research are vast. However, at Insights In Marketing, we have found that most marketing research projects we encounter have the following five critical marketing objectives.
1. Optimize brand strategy and positioning
Every marketer’s objective is to position themselves uniquely in the marketplace ahead of their competition. Quantitative (numbers-based) and qualitative (conversation-based) marketing research can be used to identify where your brand stands compared to the competition, what metrics you should be tracking over time, and what brand benefits matter most to your target market.
2. Identify or better understand your target market
Market research is an excellent way to find the best market or target demographic for a product or service. By focusing your efforts to the right markets, you can see faster results, improved efficiency, and greater overall performance from your marketing campaigns. In addition, if your target is already defined, you can use marketing research to better understand your target consumer and to uncover critical behavior drivers and attitudes that inform their purchase decisions.
3. Elevate your messaging and communication
Marketers often find ourselves talking at consumers rather than with them to determine how we may fit into their lives. Our messaging must resonate with our audience, whether through our advertising, package design, or website. Marketing research is a great way to test concepts and key messages to evaluate which ones our target customers can relate to.
4. Innovate with impact
Innovation is a key part of any brand’s growth. However, conducting marketing research enables you to focus your innovation efforts on the highest growth opportunities for you and your brand, design a product or service with the optimal benefits and features, and zero in on the ideas or concepts that address your consumers’ desires, needs, and interests
5. Assess your category and competition
Whether you are a small local business or a multinational corporation, understanding your competition and category is a crucial part of dominating the market. Market research can help to reveal key aspects of the competitors’ products, services, marketing strategies, and target audience. Using this information within your own campaigns can help to lead in the market over your competition and add value to your business or brand. In addition, regularly monitoring your category and potential major industry changes will enable you to stay ahead of the game and prepare your brand to adapt and innovate.
In the modern global market, marketing research is not just helpful; it is essential to success. Put it on the top of your marketing to-do list and don’t forget to set your research objectives to get the best results for your business!