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At start, I’d like to point out few market research axioms:

  • Market research tells you something you didn’t know before.
  • Market research tells you if you were right or wrong.
  • Market research can tell you about something that wasn’t on your radar.
  • Market research is an investment, not a cost.
  • Market research helps you plan for profitable growth.
  • Or to quote some of the opinion leaders:

    Without data you're just another person with an opinion.

    W. Edwards Deming

    How true. So many business decisions are made on gut reactions. While many pay off, many force bankruptcy and debt too. You just don't hear about them as much. Use research to gather aggregate data and see how other opinions compare to yours.

    Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.

    Bill Gates

    In the proverbial 0-10 scale, companies love their 9s and 10s. But a company can arguably learn more from their 1-6 ratings than those on the high-end of the scale. Identify your drivers of dissatisfaction to improve overall satisfaction. Seems too simple, right?

    Hopefully you agree with some, or all of those statements. But are you wringing the most out of your market research investments to help your organisation achieve its strategic goals? It can be beneficial to ask yourself honestly about your practices and procedures, and how you implement actions following research initiatives:

  • Does everyone in your organisation who would benefit from insights have access to them, or is market intelligence closely guarded by a department or individual gatekeeper?
  • Do you act on market research findings or do you ignore them if they are inconvenient or don’t fit with your organisation’s current thinking or direction of travel? (Be honest!)
  • Do you make full use of all the market research products & services you buy, or are there tools and reports which you don’t fully understand or don’t benefit from?
  • Do you view third-party market researchers as suppliers or partners? The deeper your relationship, the greater the benefits you will derive.
  • Do you understand the costs and benefits of market research, and can you make a strong argument for it in ROI terms?
  • My top recommendation for using market research effectively is therefore simple. Make sure you are using it!