As a product marketer, manager, senior executive or product engineer, you need to have solid insight into what makes your markets and customers tick. While there are sources like industry reports, social media, and sales representative feedback, sometimes there are still questions that defy answers. The information is just not available, and it can leave big gaps in understanding when designing marketing campaigns, determining pricing, training your sales team, or innovating future product ideas.
If you’ve had this experience, that’s a simple and clear sign you should consider commissioning primary marketing research. If you haven’t already engaged a marketing research firm and you’re doing research on your own, or even with someone who lacks experience, here are a few warning signs that it’s time for your team to seek the assistance of a primary market research professional.
1. You’re Not Sure Where to Start
Professional marketing researchers provide many services, but one of the biggest value-adds experts provide is their focused problem-solving skills. This means you don’t have to approach professional researchers with a full-fledged plan; you can start the conversation by saying we’re experiencing X, we need to know Y, and we need help.
Even better, you can say, “We’re trying to do X, and I am not sure about Y and Z. I believe I need to know more about W.” The right marketing research expert will brainstorm with you to focus on the proper methodology that will fulfill your research needs.
2. You’re Not Sure How Much of Your Audience to Interview or Survey
If you are confused as to how many of your audience members you should engage in your research effort, you should definitely contact a research professional. Frequently, nuances with respect to audience, reachability, and size, particularly for professional respondents, can present significant barriers to a successful research effort.
3. You’re Not Sure Who Should Take Your Survey
Making a determination of who should take your survey is also critically important. For example, if you’re only reaching out to your current customers, you’re missing the vital feedback of potential clients who might buy your product or service in the future. For some studies, it is important to over-sample a particular segment of your audience to ensure you get an adequate sample size for their segment. If you’re not sure how to balance your sample mix and properly take into account sample size, it’s time to call in the experts. Professional market researchers can help you both identify and reach your most important audiences through targeted recruiting.
4. You Don’t Know How to Leave the Bias Behind
Have you ever heard of a leading question? How about order bias? There are many different kinds of bias that can be introduced into a research effort, and it is important to eliminate as many of them as possible. Failing to do so can get you anything from slightly inaccurate results to pointing one in the wrong direction entirely. Millions and millions of dollars have been lost due to poorly constructed or executed market research.
5. You’re Not Sure if You Should Go Blind
Should your survey include your company name? There are specific instances where it’s certainly a good idea, and other times when it is an absolute no. If you are unsure, it’s a great question for the experts. They’ll be able to tell you when revealing the sponsor of the research will provide a real benefit and when it is best to field the research blind with respect to the sponsor.
6. Focus Groups or One-On-One, In-Depth Interviews?
Sometimes, you don’t need a survey at all, but need to have a discussion with some of your audience members. The first step is to figure out whether your research effort should be quantitative or qualitative, which is followed by the decision to perform the research in a group effort, or a one-to-one environment. See our past article here for more information on choosing one qualitative methodology over another. If you're really unsure - call the experts.
You Need Actionable Research
The most common of all needs is for research that can drive decision making and business planning; research that is actionable. At Actionable Research, we have been working in our markets for nearly 20 years and know how to advise your research to get the answers you need, cost effectively. Contact Actionable Research today to learn more about how we have solutions suited to nearly any budget and timeline.