by Chris Hubble, CEO at Bastion db5
It’s the new year! A perfect time to reflect on last year’s achievements and set new business goals for the coming months. We are ushering in a new decade of constant innovation, even as budgets continue to tighten. As a company that’s trying to stay competitive, it can be hard to meet the ever-increasing pressure to show business impact and growth year-over-year.
Don’t despair, there are a few useful ways in which market research can help you achieve your 2020 business goals and take some of the pressure off. Here are some long-standing principles—as well as a few more modern approaches—to set you up for success in the year (and decade) to come.
Enduring principles to keep you going
Strategy before tactics – Formulate your strategy first by reviewing your 2020 business and marketing plans. Once you’ve developed a clear path forward for the year, you’ll be ready to build your market research activities around this core strategy. Your market research strategy must begin with a targeted list of the information and insights you want to explore in order to be beneficial. Market research may not be able to answer every question for all departments, so focus your efforts on the activities that will have the biggest business impact.
Different tools for different results – Now more than ever it’s important to allocate tools and budget in proportion to their business value and impact. Decide what methodologies and tools are best suited for each insight needed early in the year. This will allow you to automate and lower costs on the more tactical or commoditized activities while concentrating energy and budget on the more impactful insights.
Be assertive – Market research should be a strategic partner to the CFO, product and marketing teams. But don’t be an order taker from these groups. The brief should never tell you what to do. Instead, let them know where market research can help the team drive growth and efficiency. Here are some examples:
- Test products before moving to the mass production stage to avoid product failures and increase the likelihood of success. Harvard Business School states that each year 30,000 new products are launched and 95 percent of them fail. Help your team cultivate a lasting product with solid testing.
- In a recent survey, marketers identified that monitoring customer experience was a top challenge. Market research can address this challenge and provide important insights into the customer experience at all stages of the sales funnel.
- Provide insights into product or service optimizations and help determine the most complementary and profitable product portfolio mix.
- It’s hard to keep up with the market, especially when we are faced with something brand new on a daily basis, but market research can keep you competitive in your industry and help you find opportunities for creating new revenue channels. By continuously researching consumer attitude and behavior you can keep up with the shifts in the market and detect opportunities before other brands.
- Know your opponent! Gain insights into your competitors to steal market share by understanding their customers’ thoughts on product usages, distribution strategies and experiences with the product or service.
- Craft your marketing campaigns with content optimizations and maps of the customers’ path to purchase to get the most out of your media investments.
- Drive sales by finding the visibility your company needs to grow, enhance the customer experience and solidify customer loyalty.
Find a smart insights partner – You’ll need help executing all these business goals and selecting the right insights partner can be crucial to your success. Look for a partner that can complete market research in a fast, agile and budget-friendly way. You’ll want to keep up with the next generation of research so finding an innovative and insights driven partner is essential.
Insights from market research – Insights help businesses grow whether they are validating current strategies or discovering ground-breaking revelations. Market research is a process of data collection and project management, but insights are the next level. You must use your knowledge and training to get in front of the data and provide valuable and actionable points that can be used to grow the business.
Be a storyteller – Translate data into a meaningful narrative that can be quickly and simply communicated and acted upon.
Modern principles to keep up with the times
Embrace digital supremacy – Eighty-one percent of Americans reported going online on a daily basis, and 28 percent reported being online almost constantly. The influence of digital, mobile and other technologies dominates both business and consumer life. We need to go where consumers are and talk to them the way they talk to each other – through online and mobile platforms.
Be at the epicenter of automation – Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will only be as good as the architects and engineers programming the tools, so make contributions here to ensure best practices and innovative techniques are built into these market research tools.
The business climate is evolving faster and faster every year. With changes in automation, mobile, social media and digital driving change across industries and professions, it’s more important than ever to maximize the value of your research efforts. Blending a mix of well-established market research best practices with a few innovative tweaks will result in the highest-quality data and business growth insights for your business in 2020.
Chris Hubble serves as CEO of market research and consumer insights agency Bastion db5. Before founding db5 in 2009, Chris served as Chief Executive Officer at Hall & Partners USA. Chris has 30+ years of experience in consumer insights with particular expertise in new product development, brand strategy, brand communications, and customer experience. He’s worked with over 50% of Fortune 500 clients. Bastion db5 has done work for Yahoo!, Verizon Media, and BuzzFeed.