Effectively designed and conducted market research provides a highly valuable business resource. Structure and system need to be applied to the key phases of; objective, population, sample, questionnaire, interviewing, analysis, reporting and action.
For the 1st of our research insights, we will be looking at objective setting.
There needs to be a clear and defined purpose to undertaking any market research – the anchor which supports and the rudder which steers the research throughout its process.
Without a clearly defined objective, which is the basis for directing and informing each element of the research design, the project has the potential to go off course and be
influenced by a range of factors which are neither a priority nor a value.
“That would be interesting to know”; “I was just wondering” or “While we’re asking…” are not objectives.
The key question to help inform the objective is; “What difference are the findings from the research going to make – what impact will this knowledge have on decisions?” To summarise is; “What difference will this insight make to the business?”
Each objective will be specific to a precise situation; whether, for example, looking for business growth, to gain competitive advantage, exploit an opportunity or counter a threat.
A further consideration is that the objective needs to have an action-orientated outcome – even if that action is a decision to do nothing. An objective without any future action associated with it becomes a resource intensive “nice to know”.
Examples of action-orientated objectives reflecting the value of market research at different business stages include, research to establish:
- The potential market size and profile for a new product or service – whether or not to develop the new product or service for market and what market to sell it to.
- Company position within the market – whether modifying products or services, price, communication or support would increase market share.
- The effectiveness of marketing communication – to establish levels of awareness, recall, perceived appropriateness and call to purchase to baseline, measure and improve marketing effectiveness.
- The level of customer satisfaction – to establish the strengths to exploit and the weaknesses to address to increase the level of customer retention.
Research is a highly useful and valuable business tool but it is resource intensive. The development of a clear and precise objective right at the start means that the cost benefit of conducting the research can be established – what value will the outcomes from the research add to the business – is research a cost effective solution?
If you would like any advice in the meantime on how to progress effectively then please get in touch.