Market research

Market Research as a Key to Managerial Decision-Making

Market research provides valuable insights for marketing, but it also can fill in a portrait of corporate performance from a consumer viewpoint that can inform managerial decision-making.

Market research provides valuable insights for marketing, but it also can fill in a portrait of corporate performance from a consumer viewpoint that can inform managerial decision-making.

Quality market research is as important to management as it is to marketing. Research findings convey meaningful information about a brand’s reputation, its market position and consumer profiles that are critical to effective management strategy.

Market research provides qualitative insights into how a company is performing, which can be as valuable as quantitative data and help avoid a strictly green-eyeshade perspective on a business. Numbers don’t lie, but they also don’t tell the whole story.

Management attention to market research offers a vein of information unavailable from a spreadsheet. The numbers may show you are losing money; market research may give you a window into why.

For a brand wallowing in failure, pages of data won’t reveal how to succeed. Market research might. If your customers are the heart of your brand, checking their pulse would be a direct way to chart the way back to sales and profitability.

Employee morale can be a blind spot for data-driven research. No set of numbers can accurately depict how a workforce relates to the brand it represents. Market research can identify lackluster employee support as an impediment to marketplace success. It also can uncover employee insights, based on first-hand contact with consumers and influencers, into how the brand can succeed.

One of the most dangerous dimensions of management is lighthouse decision-making. Top management is supposed to show the way and stay off the rocks. However, locked up in a towering precipice, managers can be isolated from emerging trends and new realities.

It is not a knock on data to say it is a stick-figure picture of the health of a business. Market research can add flesh to the stick-figure statistics that paint a fuller picture of corporate health and opportunity.

Good managerial decision-making should not be muzzled by biased views of market research, which can reveal more than the seasonal color preferences or the latest toy sensations. Managers should settle for nothing less than robust research findings, from as many and as varied sources as possible.

Knowing where your customers are headed can be as instructive as where your investors want to go. Savvy investors will want to know as much about your brand’s customer journey as they do about your return on investment. Both are important. Both are interrelated. 

Multi-faceted research delivers a more comprehensive picture of business performance and opportunity. Why settle for a segmented view based on data or a focus group when you can have a composite picture of your business? Problems are complex. Research should be complex, too.

 

 

Technology Will Push Market Researchers into New Depths

Just as the venerable Sears & Roebuck catalog is fading away, consumers will have new options to search for what they want. That, in turn, will create new challenges for market researchers to understand emerging trends such as voice search and to evaluate immersive consumer experiences made possible by virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

Just as the venerable Sears & Roebuck catalog is fading away, consumers will have new options to search for what they want. That, in turn, will create new challenges for market researchers to understand emerging trends such as voice search and to evaluate immersive consumer experiences made possible by virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

You don’t typically associate artificial intelligence, blockchains and search engine optimization with research. But you should, based on predictions for market research trends in 2019.

Focus Pointe Global shared five market research trends it perceives in 2019.

  1. Artificial intelligence combined with automation makes it possible to learn from all customers, not just a select sample. AI advocates say this will enable brands to have a deeper, more authentic understanding of their customers – and potentially gain a competitive advantage.

  2.  Online searches for content, special offers, reviews and pricing is an important tool for consumers – and a critical channel for brands. Google Home and Amazon Echo are extending consumer reach with voice search. Not far behind is visual search in platforms such as Pinterest, Bing and Google Lens. These new avenues will require website optimization and close attention to see how, or if, voice and visual searches differ from online searches the “old-fashioned” way on computers and tablets.

  3.  Researchers won’t have to ask consumers to describe their daily lives, they will be able to capture them on video in their daily lives. Brand managers can see for themselves how consumers engage with a product display or interact with a sales representative. This video evidence can be combined with geo-location technology to trace quite literally the consumer journey. This trend on steroids would extend to virtual reality that allow consumers to experience products.

  4.  All these techniques that can be quite intimate with consumers also must contend with existing and more stringent future privacy protection regulations. The European Union has adopted privacy protections and California has adopted legislation embracing similar protections. Other states are likely to follow, maybe even as soon as this year when most state legislatures convene.

  5.  New avenues for research will require closer partnerships between brand managers and market researchers. The expanding possibilities will demand hand-in-hand working relationships as research techniques become more fully embedded into the consumer purchasing process. Partnerships also will be necessary to interpret accurately and fairly increasing amounts of emotional intelligence about products and the people who buy them.

Writing for Forbes, small business contributor Lilach Bullock offered her predictions for market research trends in 2019. She agrees voice search is on the rise, predicting 50 percent of all searches will be via voice by 2020.

Bullock notes 35.6 Americans use a voice-activated device at least once a month and one in six Americans own a smart speaker – all of which point to new optimization strategies based on how consumers ask questions and search engines respond.

Other trends pointed out by Bullock include steps to speed up searches. Mobile-first indexing and faster-loading websites will be essential to improve the consumer experience, which market researchers will be tasked to monitor. Blockchain technology to create secure, trustworthy transactions also can be used to verify a consumer or brand is who they say they are. Bullock indicates security will become a new imperative alongside privacy.

“It might not be clear what the future will bring exactly,” Bullock concludes, “but it’s clear that emerging and older technologies are starting to have a huge impact on search engine optimization – if it’s not already happening, then at the very least it’s bound to happen soon.”