Ahead of Ci Research’s Colin Auton appearing on the Guardian.co.uk expert panel – “How to get started with market research” – we have posted a “top 10” on the ways in which market research and consumer insight can benefit small business and start-ups.
If you fancy logging on to hear some wise words from Colin, the link to the Q&A is below – discussion is live from 1pm to 3pm on Tuesday 24th July 2012.
10. Consultation with customers helps build stronger relationships. Your customers value being asked their opinion, and the need for brands to forge stronger relationships with their customers is more relevant than ever before.
9. Understand that you have one chance to get it right. Customers are less forgiving than ever before – getting to the heart of what drives trust and loyalty is critical
8. Test before invest. Use market research to test new product ideas, concepts and propositions before committing too much resource to their development
7. Collaborate with consumers to develop new concepts and propositions. Get the prospect customer to help you with the design process.
6. Differentiation wins. Use market research to find and monitor the unique territory which your brand / product occupies in the market place
5. Monitor satisfaction levels –and be hungry for feedback on your products and services – use market research for “warts and all” feedback and learn from mistakes
4. Understand what really drives satisfaction, trust, loyalty and advocacy. Understand not just what customers SAY is important, but find those more elusive buttons to press that will deliver beyond what customers THINK they need
3. Use technology. Online and mobile methods mean that means that quantitative and qualitative market research is as affordable as ever before
2. Use positive research findings for PR and influence. Use survey findings to prove to potential investors or retail / wholesale partners there is demand for your product / service
1. Proactive monitoring, environmental scanning and trend-spotting. Use market research to learn from competitors successes and failures – and observe what is happening in adjacent markets
Our final assertion would be D.I.T. (do it thoroughly) and not D.I.Y.
It is important that the big ‘front end’ decisions are given the necessary time, and not taken on the back of questionable samples and questionable interview techniques. Professional research is an investment and will make a significant difference. Although several “DIY” survey tools exist, our advice would be to always entrust a quality agency to provide the design, delivery and interpretation. Not only for independence and objectivity, or for the specialist skills involved, but for the years of experience of having conducted many such projects before.