Marketing Research Without Methods is a Waste of Time

Survey Tools Without Methodologies Offer Little Value

Research Design is a Critical Component of Successful Research

In the quest to get clear answers on product marketing questions, messaging priorities, product development issues, pricing, and customer satisfaction, there are a few options available to solve these problems, including trial and error. Because the use of trial and error is unacceptably expensive, we lean on marketing and product development research to make product decisions; this is actualized through the use of qualitative interviews, group based discussions and social media listening, as well as quantitative research, such as surveys and controlled experiments.

An important step in this process is an intermediate decision which boils down to “What is the best way to set up this research so I will get insightful answers?” Sometimes, in situations where the individual who is undertaking the research has extensive experience in framing and solving similar marketing research problems, this step may be insignificant. Someone who has done hundreds of product development research projects will undoubtedly require less time than another individual who is less experienced.


Solving Marketing Research Problems is Not Intuitive

Most of the time, however, the path to useful results is not obvious. Given a new set of products or brands as a result of an acquisition, a product manager on the corporate level may be required to understand which brand or product lines should be kept and which should be pared away to offer clearer messaging and brand hierarchies. Another product manager may be given a product by R&D and be tasked with determining which features are most important to deliver and to what level of performance the features should deliver, or even more challenging, which features would command the highest price for the product for the largest population.

If you are not a seasoned researcher, your first reaction may be to read up on the subject; you will find there are a series of research “methods” you can use to solve these problems. These methods, made up of questioning, analytical patterns, and techniques to help you get the right answer to the problems you are facing, are the be-all and end-all of marketing research. Indeed, methodologies do the heavy lifting in marketing research, that give us the quick path through the windy mountain pass. Not only are they the fast path, they also represent the map to the right location; they give us the most insightful answers.

This means that methodologies applied in marketing research are the tools of the trade. Methodologies combine experience and effect validation to rival trial and error, which wastes countless hours and dollars. They are in fact, everything to marketing research.


Self-Service Marketing Research is Worthless without Methods

Just as a mason charged with laying a brick wall would not be successful without a level, the market researcher is nowhere without his methods for research problem solving. Just as the simple level enables a brick wall to be fit for its purpose, a Gabor-Granger Price Wheel enables effective and reliable results to come from a pricing market research study. Provided it comes with a defined set of prices, a range that is reasonable and is applied to a product that is not a significant departure from existing products in its category. Used properly, the tool has significant value. 

This leads to an important truth with respect to self-service marketing research. If it does not offer the method as a feature integrated into its use, it possesses little value when trying to accomplish anything other than general questioning of an audience.  Certainly, if one is an experienced researcher and wishes to create question sets from scratch, then this time investment may be worthwhile, but starting from scratch is seldom productive enough to enable competitiveness in our current business environment.


Actionable Research Specializes in Finding the Best Method for Your Research

After conducting custom primary marketing research for the past 18 years, we have significant experience in identifying what methodology would best apply to any given client research application. From early stage qualitative interviews designed to uncover the most basic insights into a marketplace, industry or customer group, to complex multi-country conjoint studies to finalize product designs, Actionable Research can help you succeed in your next marketing research effort. 

Contact us today to arrange a time to learn more about how we do this for our clients. 

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