You know the importance of market research. You know the different kinds of market research. Now, where do you begin?
Being intentional about your approach to market research is the key to being efficient and effective. A poorly executed research plan can waste valuable time and money, along with producing subpar results.
Determine Your Goals
The first step in market research is to clearly define what you want to get out of it. Not only is this the foundation that determines all your other steps, but it can also help you decide what kind of market research is best. Ask yourself these questions:
- What problem are you trying to solve?
- What information do you need the most from your research?
- What are your assumptions? How will you validate them?
- What actionable insights do you want to walk away with?
If you can clearly articulate what you’re trying to solve and what you want to walk away with, you’ll be in good shape.
Determine Your Approach
Your choice of market research (quantitative, qualitative, or empirical) will depend on the goals you have defined. Decide which method best fits your need, and then map out exactly how you will get the data.
For example, if qualitative research is best for you, will you send out a feedback survey? Run a focus group? Will you offer compensation for participation? What questions will you ask? Who will analyze the results?
Mapping out the research journey, while always referencing your goals to ensure your approach is in service to them, will help you avoid scope creep.
Determine Your Budget
Research costs money. It’s a solid investment, but it’s important to understand how much you are willing to spend before you dive in. Some research methods cost more than others. Focus groups often offer compensation for participation, for example. You may also need to hire a moderator, rent a space to host, provide snacks, and budget for your analyst’s salary to summarize the results. Don’t forget to account for the time and effort of your salaried employees as well.
Clearly defining your budget for your research efforts ahead of time will help you stay laser-focused on your goals.
If you’re not yet sure how much data you’ll get or how valuable it’ll be, it’s okay to start on a smaller scale and build on it. There’s no rule that says you have to go all in on one market research approach right out of the gate. While you absolutely do want the right data to make good marketing decisions, sometimes it makes sense to test the waters before scaling. For example, if you’re looking for customer feedback, perhaps you start with a feedback survey that you send out to your email list. Depending on early results, you may want to scale it to a wider audience or host a focus group to dig in deeper.
Trust the Experts
If all of this sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. At BottomLine, we have seen the power of market research over and over again, and we know that the time, effort, and money is worth it. However, companies often don’t have the internal resources available with enough capacity to execute. Plus, employing the right market research strategy that will give you those actionable insights does require a high level of expertise.
That’s why organizations often hire experts like us to partner with them on their research strategy. This takes the time and effort largely off your shoulders and onto ours – and luckily, this is exactly what we love to do. If you want to explore how we can help you with your research needs, contact us today.