In our last blog post, we defined marketing research insights as the application of human thought and reasoning to analyzed data. When conducted properly, research studies can lead to insights that are actionable, are able to be monetized, and enable your company to pursue transformative change.
The catch is that a company must be prepared to fully utilize the insights gained in order to make marketing research a worthy investment. Sounds like common sense, right? But in context, it can appear more difficult than you might expect. Below are three complications that inhibit companies from fully appreciating the advantage of marketing research.
Undervaluing the Research Process
Problem: Poor planning leads to useless research findings.
If research findings fail to explain and provide context for directional change, they’re not insights, but rather just data. And quite possibly the wrong data points to have gathered. Unsatisfactory conclusions begin long before the final reporting is delivered: they begin with shortcomings in the research process.
Solution: Treat research as an iterative process.
In order for marketing research to develop into actionable insights, each step of the research process should be used to inform the steps after. Research development should be an iterative process in the partnership of marketing researchers and their clients.
From the beginning, it’s important to allow adequate time for detailed discussions about setting meaningful project goals and objectives. Following the design of the study, the iterative partnership should continue as the two groups continually review the research plan and its alignment with the overall goals and objectives.
Proper planning and meaningful discussion result in research that yields actionable insights.
Resistance to or Rejection of Research Findings
Problem: Lack of communication and interest about the results of a research study.
A significant goal of marketing research is to understand optimal conditions under which a product or service can be allowed to succeed. Sometimes the data reveals the proposed idea to be unpropitious.
Prior to undertaking market research, companies need to be accepting of properly derived insights from a contemplated study even if they are unfavorable to the company or product under consideration. In these cases, a company may be hesitant to make the difficult call to change plans that have seen serious time, money and manpower commitments.
Solution: Collaborative buy-in from all affected departments to support research findings, and discussions surrounding what will be done with results, whatever they may be.
This step requires some preparation and coordination before and after the research itself. If the research study has the potential to affect multiple departments, then those departments should be involved in the research process sooner rather than later.
For example, in the case of a product development study undertaken by executives in the marketing department, it would be beneficial to include the sales and marketing teams, and even potentially the research and development team. This all-hands strategy encourages communication and eagerness to find research results. It also helps the overall company be prepared for the potential results and changes to come. As an added benefit, these departments can offer additional perspectives in the development of overall research goals and objectives, helping to get the most complete picture.
Difficulty Implementing Change
Problem: Technological or bureaucratic obstacles prevent insights from being applied.
A potential barrier to taking full advantage of your marketing research is the inability of a company to incorporate the changes needed to remain competitive. Marketing research is not limited to the immediate concept or product being tested; it can also reveal a deeper unfulfilled need for a technological upgrade or an organizational streamlining.
For example, research reveals that customers are unhappy because they are having trouble using their scanners. While the features are meant to be intuitive, not everyone understands how to use them effectively. Unfortunately, the next generation of scanner is at least 2 years away and in the meantime, the complaints are overloading the general support department.
Solution: Accept research results and have a willingness to undertake systemic reforms.
A potential technological solution going forward would involve creating an online infrastructure to support on-demand web-based training, tutorials, and instant messaging for technical troubleshooting.
After research findings are completed, and the team onboard, assessment for the available capabilities and options start. However, results show that these issues are already on the minds of customers. As a result, companies presented with this information need to streamline their reform process for the next generation model.
How to Avoid the Waste
Developing a strong marketing strategy is predicated on having strong research. Actionable Research can help you to find marketing insights that provide the vision to answer “what next?”
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