Market research. Do I need to invest in it? Why do I need it? What can it answer for me? What will I get for ROI? How do I know if I need it?
Unlike marketing or advertising, market research is a very specialized and niche service offered by very few firms in local and regional markets.
Because so many small and mid-size businesses use it infrequently, it's hard to determine when you should invest in market research and when you shouldn't.
Well, our national market research company is here to save you.
Do I Really Need to Invest in Market Research?
This is a question Drive Research hears a lot. And to be honest, market research is really hard to sell to businesses that don't understand its value.
However, we try to use a simple example by comparing market research to advertising.
If you were to ask a small business owner if they need to do any advertising they would undoubtedly say "yes.”
Then, if you asked them what type of advertising would be of most interest to their company, they would probably say things like:
- Digital ads
- Television commercials
- Radio spots
Nearly every business decision-maker understands marketing and advertising and knows they need to do it.
Let's try this with market research.
If you were to ask a small business owner if they need to use market research many would likely be unsure. If you asked them what market research was, the answers may vary from customer satisfaction to focus groups.
In many cases, there is likely some misunderstanding about how and why to use each methodology.
The number of market research methodologies is endless. However, most people do not understand how to execute a quantitative or qualitative study based on their business objectives.
💡 The Key Takeaway: To truly understand market research methods, one must have basic knowledge of the process. Since there are multiple methodologies, a company should pinpoint how they want to use market research prior to investing.
Sign #1: You are launching a new product or service.
This may be one of the most common and easy-to-understand drivers to the usage of market research.
One of the core benefits of market research is to provide facts and evidence to shed light on the unknown.
For example, a feasibility study can give you answers for a new business concept or new location using components such as market analysis, competitive assessment, and demand modeling.
Additionally, online surveys are a great way to test concepts and product launches to understand the appeal and potential penetration through test marketing.
You can even test the proper price for a product through techniques like the van Westendorp pricing model.
Throw in investors and finance companies requiring proof of concept and demand in order to offer loans, and you have yourself one of the most popular reasons to commission market research.
Launching a new product or service is a sure-fire sign you need to invest in market research.
💡 The Key Takeaway: If your company is launching a new service or product, conducting market research is the move to make. With this step, you’ll know what potential consumers like and dislike about the product.
Sign #2: Your advertising is not providing the return you need.
Do you continue to dump dollar after dollar into your advertising and see no return?
Are your digital marketing campaigns and television commercials making the phone ring or filling your inbox with requests?
Many companies and advertising agencies commission market research to find out more about this process.
Advertising research typically involves:
- Message testing
- Creative testing
- Customer persona development
In order to successfully market, you need to better understand the profiles of your customers and where they spend their time, catch their attention, and hit them with the right message. Recent studies show that companies can produce up to 25% more profit by simply keeping 5% of their customer base.
Poor performing advertising? Or are you in the need of a marketing upgrade for your product or service? If you're not getting the return you need from your advertising dollars, it's a sign you should invest in market research.
Learn more about how marketing campaigns can help your digital marketing strategy.
💡 The Key Takeaway: If you notice your marketing or advertising strategy isn’t bringing in the money and attention it should, consider a market research investment. It can perfect ad design, messaging, layout, channels, and much more.
Sign #3: You don't know why you are losing customers.
Are you continually losing customers? Are they fleeing to a new competitor in your area but you don't know why? This is typically a sign of larger problems with your customer experience (CX).
Perhaps it's your poor customer service, your long lines, or your increasing hiked prices.
You'll have your gut feelings but you'll never truly know unless you survey your customers to find out why. Maybe you'll find out long lines make a positive impact on your brand because it creates a perception of quality and demand.
A quick Voice of Customer (VoC) email survey will get you the answers you need to start making corrections. This will provide you with objective data directly from your customers.
A popular market research investment, VoC surveys give employers an inside look into what’s working–and what isn’t–for their customers.
💡 The Key Takeaway: Losing customers and can't figure out why? Market research firms can conduct surveys to give you answers. They’ll help you obtain valuable benchmark data to base your future insights on.
Sign #4: Your employees aren't performing the way you need them to.
With all of the attention on customers as part of your market research, don't forget about your employees. Unsure what motivates them, what is important to them, or how to best manage your teams? This is a perfect fit for an employee survey.
Voice of Employee (VoE) surveys or simply “employee surveys,” are a great way to measure your culture and understand what drives your employees to perform well. The translation is high employee engagement that translates to strong customer engagement.
Problems within? Time to get some more information through market research. Think about it–happy employees equal quality work production, which more than likely equals more business.
Statistics show that organizations that have enthusiastic employees can see a 21% profit boost.
Measure and benchmark your employee satisfaction against other peers in your industry and against nationwide averages with a Voice of Employee (VoE) survey.
💡 The Key Takeaway: Employee surveys are a crucial tool when it comes to company success. By running these surveys, employers can gain insight into effective strategies that will ultimately improve job satisfaction and retention.
Sign #5: Your customer support receives a lot of customer complaint calls.
Is your customer service team overwhelmed with complaint calls? Are customers constantly calling about inaccurate orders, long shipping times, and a poor online ordering system?
These are some more signs of a less-than-optimal CX. Poor customer satisfaction leads to poor customer retention.
But market research can help! Lots of options exist for you to measure these transactions.
Here, you can utilize website surveys to better understand pain and frustration points on your website.
How do website surveys work? Easy. They’re designed to easily blend into your site to gather in-the-moment feedback from users.
There are three major types of website surveys:
- On-site embedded surveys. Embedded surveys are provided in HTML code. This code will then exist statically in a website. Put simply, this means that the survey will always be there for those who want to provide feedback.
- In-screen pop-up surveys. Hence the name, these surveys pop up on your site as a small box and are made up of 2 or 3 questions. However, some companies won’t use this type of survey because of negative connotations related to pop-ups.
- Pop-up invite surveys. Pop-up invite surveys are kind of like the in-screen pop-up survey’s fraternal twin. The main difference is that instead of asking a question in the pop-up, users will see an invitation statement to take the survey on a different landing page.
You can also send a short 2 to 3-minute customer satisfaction survey after a call is completed with customer service to understand how the representative managed the experience and what can be done better.
If your customer service department is constantly trying to put out fires, some proactive (or even reactive) market research will help you assess which issues are most common.
It will also identify actionable strategies to incorporate into your training to assist call center reps.
💡 The Key Takeaway: Customer satisfaction is a specialty for market research facilities. Through a variety of tactics, including web surveys, you’ll be able to gauge where your consumers stand through making a market research investment.
Sign #6: You need to understand what, how, and where to grow your business.
Stuck in a rut? Trying to find new markets or new areas to grow your business, but you're not sure where to start? You’ll find answers within the market research industry.
Assessments can be conducted to grade geographies to determine which makes the most financial sense for growth.
This type of market research can be both qualitative and quantitative, so the recommendations are comprehensive. A strong market research report will not only include an executive summary but also recommendations to help with operations, marketing, and strategy for growth.
A clear win, and a clear sign that market research is what you're looking for.
💡 The Key Takeaway: When companies invest in market research, they receive assessments full of helpful details about spending capabilities and what markets serve the best potential for success.
Sign #7: Your competitors are doing it.
If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you follow? In this case, you at least might want to think about it.
Companies that utilize market research create a competitive edge in their market. In most cases whoever knows the customer best, wins.
With the help of market research, competitors also know:
- Target audiences
- How to market to them
- When to market to them
With customer experience being a true differentiator in all industries, relationships are vital.
Reaching out to customers, listening to their feedback, and taking action seems so simple, yet it is rarely done. This is your chance to get that competitive edge.
Don't fall behind–if you see your competitors jumping on the market research train, you need to start thinking about ways to keep pace on the CX battlefront.
If your competitors are using customer satisfaction surveys, focus groups, or other forms of market research they are gaining a strategic advantage over your company.
💡 The Key Takeaway: Keep a serious eye on the competition. By doing this, you’ll be able to stay on top of your game while (hopefully) beating them.
Sign #8: Your content marketing has gone stale.
Most of what we've mentioned so far has fit the bill of using market research to sell more to current customers or improve customer experience.
Market research for content marketing creates a whole new benefit.
Sales and market research can be friends. For years, they were told to sleep in separate beds and not talk to each other because sales were viewed as "persuasion" while market research was viewed as "unbiased.”
However, the two can be married together through content marketing research.
This involves conducting industry studies and competitive studies where the market research is completed through a third party to ensure credibility.
After the content survey is designed and fieldwork is completed, the data is released to the marketing and content marketing team so infographics, compare cards, and social nuggets can be created and marketed.
If you've run out of ideas for blogs, content, PR, and marketing materials, it's a sign you need market research to freshen up your strategy. Read more in our post about defeating writer’s block.
A single public relations survey can create an endless mountain of repurposed content for your company.
A custom PR survey is a form of quantitative research and can be a massive boost to your brand. These surveys are designed to grab the public’s attention through catchy wording and readability. Through these polls, companies can get in touch with the public about potential ideas.
PR surveys are typically run online, for both user and client ease.
Perhaps this goes without saying, but you want to conduct this type of market research survey with a company that knows what they’re doing.
Good news–at Drive Research, we just so happen to know exactly what we’re doing. We know how important a good headline is and what it can do for your brand.
💡 The Key Takeaway: Has the content well run dry? Another benefit of market research investment is that you can enjoy loads of information through PR and content surveys.
Watch this video to learn four examples of research-based content.
Sign #9: You need an objective point-of-view.
Lastly, this might be the most simple reason for commissioning market research.
This objective point of view could be for one person or a management team. If you are immersed in a project or your company on a day-to-day basis it is easy to lose sight of the big picture.
Sometimes it helps to take a step back and bring in a third party to conduct some strategic planning market research.
This may involve interviews with your company management team and stakeholders or even conducting online focus groups. The deliverable is an objective report and insights from the market research firm.
Sometimes a simple study like this is enough to get the answers you need. If you are wondering about others’ perspectives on key topics or issues at your company it might be time to reach out to a market research firm.
💡 The Key Takeaway: Let the pros do what they do. Hiring a market research team will take the stress out of obtaining insights into your company’s inner workings. Through this type of strategic planning, you may find your company could benefit from a focus group.
Drive Research is a full-service market research company in New York. Our team works with clients from across the country to execute both qualitative and quantitative market research studies based on their objectives, target audience, timeline, budget, and more.
Interested in talking more about market research and receiving a quote from our team? Contact Drive Research today!
- Message us on our website
- Email us at [email protected]
- Call us at 888-725-DATA
- Text us at 315-303-2040
George is the Owner & President of Drive Research. He has consulted for hundreds of regional, national, and global organizations over the past 15 years. He is a CX-certified VoC professional with a focus on innovation and new product management.
Learn more about George, here.