When properly planned, a research project can often meet multiple objectives in disparate departments within an organization. But here’s even more good news: research can also enhance other areas of the business for which it’s not even planned or intended.
Market Connections has a client that frequently conducts focus groups and surveys with customers and prospects to gain intelligence on how to improve the functionality and relevancy of its web-based products. But, this client doesn’t stop there when it comes to getting value from their research results. They carefully study the focus group video clips and read the survey transcripts for comments that may not necessarily relate to the research topic, but that provide insights into other areas of the business.
For example, the client could tell from an innocuous customer response to a product-related survey question that a particular account person wasn’t giving that account enough attention. Another time, a prospect happened to reference in passing how impressive a competitor’s proposal was. While this information didn’t relate at all to the research objectives, hearing it when studying the focus group video inspired the client to call some contacts and learn more about that competitor’s pitch approach.
Some research clients even incorporate clips from focus group videos into sales and management meeting presentations and training, enabling the sales force and account teams to hear first hand what people are saying about the company and its offerings. This, in turn, drives customer service improvements and more effective sales pitches. The same is true for customer satisfaction surveys. Rather than focusing only on the scores, we help clients glean from the survey results the most important satisfaction attributes across the spectrum of customers. Some clients almost immediately convert those findings into resonating selling points and marketing messages.
In other cases, research projects fuel story angles and content for press pitches, resulting in trade magazine articles that position the organization as an industry thought leader. This is especially true for research that reveals emerging market trends or usage patterns.
So, next time your organization conducts a research project, consider pulling together a cross-functional team to thoroughly study the video tapes and transcripts. It’s very likely that, by viewing the data from a holistic business intelligence perspective that goes beyond the original research objectives, you’ll discover improvement possibilities you never even imagined.