Posts Tagged ‘market research mistakes’

Make Sure Your Marketing Research Efforts Have an “Owner”

October 8, 2009

When conducting marketing research, whether in-house or using an external marketing research firm, companies should assign responsibility for the research project to someone internally. Frequently, nobody owns the marketing research role, dooming the research project from the beginning. No designated owner ensures that research won’t be taken seriously relative to the employees’ other responsibilities; it almost guarantees that problem definition and project execution will be inadequate; it allows everyone to evade accountability; and it can lead to duplication of effort, as many departments may commission their own research.

 The duplication of research efforts is arguably the most expensive result of not having a dedicated research owner, and the obvious waste of time and money is not the half of it. Imagine this scenario: The marketing department wants to measure customer satisfaction and the customer service department wants to understand what is driving customer complaints and explore ways to reduce them. If the departments don’t consult each other and each conducts its own survey, it’s very likely they will be calling on the same customers and asking similar questions. Now imagine you, as the customer, receiving both surveys. What opinions do you form about this company?

The moral: Assign the research role to a qualified internal person, who is charged with communicating with the different departments and outside research vendors and maintaining your industry and market monitoring system.

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Are You Doing Marketing Research for the Right Reasons?

October 5, 2009

Companies that fail to define their business problem or conduct unnecessary marketing research ultimately end up doing marketing research for the wrong reasons.  You will know if your company is performing marketing research for the wrong reasons if you ask why it’s being done and you hear any of the following:

“We’ve always done this research.” (The research has taken on a life of its own; this particular project has continued for years and nobody questioned whether it was still relevant.)

“Everyone’s doing this research.” (Their competitors are doing it, and they’re afraid they’ll lose competitive advantage if they don’t; yet no one asks what value the research is creating.)

 “The findings are nice to know.” (Great – spend a lot of money to create a wealth of useless information!  If the information is nice to know, but you can’t do anything with it, you’re wasting money.)

“If our strategy fails, having done the research will show that we made our best educated guess.” (They’re covering their butts.  If things go wrong, they can blame the findings, or the researcher.  But if the research process was flawed from the get-go, they didn’t make their best educated guess after all.)

“We need to study the problem thoroughly before we decide on a course of action.” (They’re afraid of making a tough decision.  Conducting marketing research is a good way to delay the inevitable.  In the meantime, the problem gets bigger, or the window of opportunity closes.  How much is “thoroughly?”  How much information do you need?)

“The research will show that our latest ad campaign was effective.” (They’re using marketing research to justify past decisions.  Rarely should marketing research be done after the fact.  Research mechanisms should be proactive; they should be built into all marketing efforts so that their success can be tracked objectively and thoroughly as they progress.)

The Right Reasons for Doing Marketing Research

You know you’re doing marketing research for the right reasons when:

  1. It enables you to make strategic decisions about your product, pricing, promotion, or positioning;
  2. It gives you necessary information you cannot get from any other source, so that you can make a critical decision;
  3. It helps you attack the root problem of the symptoms your company is experiencing; and
  4. It leads you to a course of action resulting in significant, positive outcomes for your company.