B2B Marketing Insight Blog
October 08, 2012
5 Undeniable Reasons for Market Research
(click here to jump down to the Q&A)
There is a well guarded industry secret that I am going to share with you - businesses that execute and leverage market research are more successful than those that don’t.
Shhh... don’t tell anyone - at least not your competitors.
During yesterday’s B2B Marketing Roadmap web seminar on market research a couple of Penton Marketing Services’ experts shared insights into how companies can leverage market research. Market research not only informs marketing decisions, but also overall business strategy, product development and helps gauge customer satisfaction.
Let’s take a look at 5 undeniable reasons for market research.
1. Informing Strategy
Using market research to inform your overall business strategy - is a smart move. This allows you to not only understand your existing customer base, but often exposes you to new types of customers. How big is your market? Who are the other competitors? These are the sorts of questions that get answered with market research.
2. Content Creation
Content is king. If you know your customers wants and needs, you can tailor your content to speak directly to them. Content that resonates with your customers will convert faster than you can say PentonMarketingServices.
3. Business Insight
There can be that ah-ha moment in market research, where you find out something you had no idea about. Often that information gives you the business insight to make paradigm shifting changes by uncovering customer service problems, discovering new product opportunities and really understanding the fundamental health of your business.
4. Product Conceptualization
While your R&D team is thinking up a new product, your competitors might be out there discovering it first. Only by listening to your customers and understanding their pain points, can you truly deliver the product or service that they need. Once again - market research gives you this insight.
5. Understanding the Target Audience
Saving the best for last. The theme here is understanding your audience. A company that truly understands their audience will beat the company that doesn’t 100% of the time. Can you ignore those odds?
We had a large audience for the web seminar, but in case you missed it - we are making it available on-demand for a short time. Also because we ran out of time, there were a few unanswered questions that we wanted to make sure we got to:
|How many participants do you need for a focus group to get valid results?
||While focus groups are typically comprised of 8-10 people, I would not say this group size necessarily provides "valid" data. Rather, it provides "useful/instructive" data.
|My company might be interested in online monitoring but I'm not sure anyone's saying anything about us on the Internet ... is it still worth doing?
||Many companies are surprised to find the number of online conversations mentioning them by name even though the company doesn't engage much in social media or online forums directly. In particular, B2B companies sometimes make the mistake of discounting the number of conversations and influence that these online conversations can have. And, lots of information can be gained by your company by researching related terms, not necessarily brand terms.
|I missed part one, but could these strategies work for B2C
||Yes, all the research strategies mentioned today can be applied to B2C. The considerations for selecting the right sample might be somewhat different. B2B research tends to already be quite targeted by industry and job title, so it's easier to define the particular audience segmentation. The potential pool of customers with B2C research is often much larger–and more diffuse.
|Should you start with quantative research to lead to the deep dive of qualitative.
||Absolutely not. While qualitative research is often used to inform subsequent quantitative research, that is certainly not the only option. Qualitative can also be utilized following a quantitative study in order to more deeply explore select findings. And of course qualitative research can be useful in its own right, as a stand alone methodology.
|You talk about going out to key audiences for research. For the research you do for outside clients, do you help find that audience FOR them (i.e. list vendor), or do you utilize names in the customer's database?
||We do both actually - we can utilize the client's own list resources (e.g., customer database), or we can assist them with sample selection (e.g., Penton subscriber databases, list vendors).
|For e-listening or online monitoring, where do you go/how do you start?
||First, you identify keywords that describe topics of interest for your company, in addition to the names of your company, brands, and your competitor's brands. Then, using various search tools, you scan the Internet for mentions of these topics and analyze which social media outlets, web sites, influencers, etc. are mentioning these topics and keywords. You can analyze whether mentions about your company and your competitors were positive or negative. You can also identify repeating themes in comments and sentiment.
|Doesn't the length of survey also dependent on the incentive?
||Yes, to some extent it does. Generally speaking, the longer or more cumbersome the survey instrument, the greater the incentive should be in order to encourage response.
|Zoomerang and SurveyMonkey aren't free especially if you hire their research respondent pool.
||These platforms are not free at all levels of functionality - that is true. However,they both continue to offer free, albeit somewhat limited services. If you require the more advanced functionality they offer, there are subscription fees involved.
|RE: Incentives for completing surveys. Do you have any suggestions for nonprofits conducting surveys? Should the incentives be similar, such as a drawing for an iPad, or do you think it should be something lower key and more in line with the mission?
||While I have very limited experience in conducting research for nonprofit organizations, I would still recommend utilizing traditional research incentives (e.g., drawings for gift cards, an iPad). We have tried using charitable donation incentives at various times over the past ten years. Unfortunately those efforts have always met with very little success.
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