Tightening budgets, shortened timelines and data overload often contribute to market research being viewed as optional in many organizations. Given this, marketers, researchers, and consultants need to aggressively push for market research studies to be included in their organization and client’s strategic planning and budgeting.
Here are four solid points of key evidence for making the case for market research and proving that research insight is essential to business success.
1. Reduces Risk
Harvard Business School claims 80% of the 300,000 new consumer products launched each year fail. These are staggering numbers given the millions of dollars brands pour into new product and service development. But more often than not, firms take shortcuts, performing 'internal research' in lieu of a consumer study.
Product concept testing, packaging and pricing studies are mandatory components of a successful new product launch. While market research cannot guarantee success, by thoroughly understanding and validating a new concept’s viability, management is able to make more informed decisions and mitigate risk.
2. Provides Project Focus
Including market research as part of a project timeline provides management with specific milestones that help ensure work stays on track. In today’s leaner corporate environment, most managers have a tough job multitasking and filling multiple roles.
Market research also provides an aspect of project management especially in new product efforts or a brand relaunch by ensuring necessary data is produced on-time. Research also brings key stakeholders together at crucial moments to absorb and discuss study results. This allows managers to agree on priorities and maximize effort on aspects of the project that truly matter.
3. Ensures Consumer Orientation
The days of predictable consumer trends have long since passed. The growth of social and electronic media has had a radical effect on consumers and key demographic cohort’s attitudes and values. Market research, in the form of tracking studies, online communities, and other long-term efforts, help firms keep a pulse on the consumer and allows them to better meet and exceed consumer expectations.
As the recent Deloitte Consumer Review cautions, “(consumers) now have more power to influence not only what they buy, but also what others buy.” Brands that do not keep the consumer first do so at their peril.
4. Fuels Revenue Growth
Businesses need to grow, but in today’s global marketplace, the best path is not always clear. Market research helps quantify opportunities and prioritize those with the most revenue potential. Concept, positioning and pricing studies provide validation to support new initiatives and ensure they are in keeping with consumer and marketplace expectations. Having research to back up decisions also provides a firm with greater clarity and efficiency by eliminating unnecessary initiatives that can be a drain on a firm’s resources.
These arguments will help make market research more of a priority in the planning and budgeting process, instead of simply being an afterthought. Marketers, researchers, and consultants who can make a convincing case for market research will ultimately benefit themselves, but most importantly, their organization.