From gauging customer satisfaction to validating assumptions about market trends, market research provides B2B and B2G executives with the hard data needed to drive performance improvements. Yet, not every executive considers market research, in part due to some existing myths about what it is and what it can do for you. We have gathered the top three myths we encounter from talking to executives and conducting market research. Our hope is that as you solidify your marketing plans for this year, this will answer questions you have about whether market research is right for you.
Myth #1. We’re doing well, so we have no need for market research.
In today’s competitive market, there is no guarantee that doing well today means anything for tomorrow. The way to keep a competitive edge is to objectively find out what your customers think—whether it’s about your current performance or about future products and services. The fact is, markets constantly change. Staying one step ahead of the competition calls for research that addresses not only how well you are doing, but understanding the perceptions your customers and prospects have about your competitors. In addition, customer retention does not necessarily indicate customer satisfaction or loyalty. It may simply be the case that continued inertia on the part of your customers is easier than the upheaval of switching – for now. An independent market research study is the most reliable way to objectively understand where your vulnerabilities are and whether you are investing in the right opportunities for the future. High performing companies know the intrinsic value of continuous outreach to their customers.
Myth #2: Our industry is very complex. A research firm wouldn’t understand our business and couldn’t possibly help us.
A good research firm dedicates time and resources to understanding client organizations and the industries in which they operate. They also stay on top of the leading-edge issues that significantly impact their clients’ performance and bottom line, such as in the case of Market Connections understanding cyber security and transformational technologies. Yes, it is important to partner with a firm that has relevant experience, but to get your actionable results, they needn’t know every nuance of your business operations. What they need to be able to do is demonstrate an ability to ask the kind of insightful questions that get results. Not unlike you when you approach a new client.
Myth #3: Market research is not tied to any measures of value or tangible outcomes. It lacks an ROI.
When done properly, market research drives informed, strategic decisions that can make a significant impact on customer retention, new sales, and brand equity as well as operational efficiencies and cost reductions. Market leaders utilize quantitative studies, focus groups, in-depth interviews, and other methods to assess customer satisfaction, marketing campaign effectiveness, potential new products and services, strengths and weaknesses of themselves and competitors, and much more—all things that can be measured. Acting on the results of market research can make a dramatic difference to your short-term bottom line and your long-term opportunities for success. For example, a federal contractor’s survey we conducted showed that the companies with higher win rates are the ones using an independent market research to conduct customer satisfaction research. That is ROI.
The key when you decide to do market research is to work with a third-party research firm that can provide you with objective, valid and actionable results. A good firm will answer all your questions, explain the research process and clearly confirm the goals, research targets, deliverables, timing and budget.