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Today’s marketers need to remember that one of their primary jobs is providing the rest of the company with a window into the customer.This takes research.
Research enables you to:
- Ask the questions you want to ask
- Begin with and test a hypothesis
- Predict what might happen in the future
If improving your ability to retain and grow business with existing customers is important to you, then conduct research. Research in its most basic form is to inquire, to examine. There is a rigor to research. Research begins with a question and the question helps you formulate your approach or methodology.
In addition to conducting research, a number of companies are exploring adding a market research function to their organization. We’ve had a number of questions regarding what factors should be considered when assessing workload requirements. Here are four key factors to consider:
Project complexity. The number and type of people you will need to staff your own research department is going to depend how complex the research projects are going to be. Secondary research projects require different skills sets than primary research efforts. Short, closed ended online web surveys that require little statistical analysis will require different skills and people than conducting in-person product validation research around the world.
Frequency of research. A couple of research projects a year will require different resources than a couple of research projects a month. If you haven’t created a research calendar, this is a good starting point. At a minimum the calendar should identify the research topic, timing, methodology, participant profile, and purpose.
Project alignment. Market research is frequently aligned by brand and the staff allocations for each brand are based on the product’s lifecycle and category. The number of brands and markets and the number of products and complexity of these products in each brand will affect the staff and budget requirements. The research calendar will help you determine staff and budget requirements.
Market potential. A product’s market potential can influence the number of analysts assigned to a research project. It is common for companies to have more analysts assigned to research projects related to larger brands or products with the greatest potential. It helps to have a way to evaluate each research effort. One way to do this is to use a 2X2 grid, with one axis for business/marketing value/ impact (high to low) and one axis for effort or investment (high to low). Those research efforts in the high value/impact quadrant should be prioritized first. We often recommend tackling some of the easiest efforts first as a way to rack up some fast wins.
Laura Patterson is president and co-founder of VisionEdge Marketing, Inc., a recognized leader in enabling organizations to leverage data and analytics to facilitate marketing accountability. Laura’s newest book, Marketing Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization (Racom: www.racombooks.com ), is a useful primer for improving marketing measurement and performance. Visit: www.visionedgemarketing.com
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