What is insight-driven market research?
Any business that is genuinely focussed on their customers will place market research at the centre of their business.
At its most basic level, market research involves the systematic gathering of information on people, markets or enterprises. The next part, which is more difficult but also more important, involves interpreting the data to extract key insights.
Most organisations have ample amounts of data to deal with. If they don’t have enough information now – they will in the very near future. Thanks to the internet we operate in a world where businesses can access huge amounts of publically available data for free. On top of this, modern businesses generate vast quantities of their own data from multiple customer touch points.
If businesses have an abundant amount of data at their fingertips, what they really need is more insight from this information.
Uncovering smart insights from data involves interpreting the relevant information in such a way that we can discover new facts that have not yet been exploited, but when utilised help grow profits.
The best insights are simple, but not obvious. They are both practical and actionable.
A modern market researcher should not only be able to collect accurate and valid information but be able to turn this data into actionable recommendations.
Why do I need market research?
The global marketplace in which we live in is characterised by strong competition, a constantly evolving marketplace and increasingly demanding customers.
Whether you are excited about the opportunities presented by global events such as Brexit or the new US administration or worried about the threats they pose, there is no arguing about their disruptive effects.
A report from PwC (2015) found that one in three global CEOs believe a potential competitor to their business is emerging (or could emerge) from the tech sector. Two-thirds of global CEOs can see that technology will disrupt their core provision of products and services.
In an increasingly uncertain world, the value of market research and genuine insight rises. Intense competition and a volatile marketplace mean organisations need to have quality information on hand to inform decision making. It is fundamentally important to have accurate knowledge of your customers and their ever changing needs and concerns.
How can market research help my business?
Effective market research is the perfect way to gain a better understanding of a whole range of factors that affect your business.
Market research can enable you to understand the needs of your existing customers so that you can improve their customer experience and journey. It can help you understand exactly why your customers choose you over your competitors.
Intelligent market research can help you benchmark the performance of your business against your rivals – enabling you to develop a strategy to stay one step ahead of your competitors. Evaluating your rivals could be as simple as undertaking a basic SWOT analysis to determine the respective strengths and weaknesses of each other. Perhaps it may involve a more complex multi-channel approach, utilising depth-interviews with competitors’ customers, secret shopping exercises and even news and social media monitoring.
Reliable research can empower you to identify new opportunities and areas ripe for expansion. It can also minimise the potential risks involved with entering into a new market with a new product or service.
How can I ensure my market research is effective?
If you are undertaking your own market research exercise, there are a few things you should consider, to ensure you get it right:
- The first step should always involve defining the problem in a clear and precise way, so that the research has a focus. This is simple, but crucial.
- Fieldwork and data collection. How will you collect the data you require to solve the problem? Popular methods usually include surveys, focus groups or depth interviews. The most effective projects tend to incorporate all of these, to build up a complete and accurate picture of what is happening. If the different methods are providing the same results – there is a good chance the results are valid. At this stage, it is also important to consider your data sample. Does it accurately reflect the audience you wish to capture?
- Data analysis and reporting. Here it is crucial to not only analyse, graph and comment on the data, but to extract as many valuable insights as possible. It is important to explain the data and not just describe the information. By asking why certain things are happening, it is possible to determine the underlying causes of trends.