Are YOU listening? Marketing research is about listening to stakeholders who are critical to your organization: customers; employees; suppliers; partners; shareholders; members; and other stakeholders. Surveying one or more of these groups who are essential to your operation will give you a more comprehensive view of the environment in which your organization operates so it can succeed and grow.
Making assumptions and uninformed business decisions can have a critical impact on your success. Intuition, experience and anecdotal evidence are nice and valuable to have and may have even been enough in the past, but thorough marketing research provides objective, reliable, trustworthy and new facts, insights and perspectives into the current complex environment facing your organization.
Similarly, although secondary data and general industry research from Statistics Canada, industry associations and the media can be useful, it is only by conducting marketing research will your organization have information that is targeted to your unique situation and not available to others, such as your competitors. Marketing research gets to the heart of your organization’s issues, deciphers your unknowns, and brings the clarity needed for your organizations’ decisions and it is not accessible to other organizations as it would be customized and proprietary. It will allow your organization to move in the right direction, rather than be left behind.
Today's assumptions may not apply tomorrow. Conduct marketing research early and often and you will stay current and abreast of the latest trends.
The following are some of the other crucial reasons for conducting marketing research:
Receive objective, unbiased and timely feedback – people are more honest answering to an independent and neutral third-party and Cohesium can provide objective insights and recommendations based on the survey results
Improve relations with stakeholders (e.g. customers, employees, suppliers, partners, shareholders, members) – they will appreciate that your organization values their feedback
Establish success benchmarks and other key performance indicator (KPI) targets – sales, growth, Net Promoter Score, Customer Satisfaction Index, etc.
Incorporate customer feedback into performance reviews and compensation packages and monitor continuously
Identify and profile stakeholders - location, age, gender, income level, education
Understand stakeholders and their preferences - highlight how they view your organization and your products/services, what products/services they want and need, what influences their decisions, what websites they visit
Develop effective strategies - measure satisfaction levels, identify gaps between expectations and impressions of your organization’s performance, identify and save “at-risk” customers who may defect to your competitors, identify what drives satisfaction, loyalty and referrals and what areas require attention
Make sound marketing decisions - optimize pricing strategies, packaging design, distribution channels, promotional campaigns, identify the most appropriate social media channels to use, whether to develop a new product/service, if you need to diversify or reduce your activity
Monitor your competition - identify competitors and how they operate, learn how stakeholders compare your organization with your competitors
Examine and solve business problems - recognize changes in demand and respond to other challenges
Discover opportunities to grow and increase profits - ascertain strengths and areas to expand, gauge interest and objections to new products/services, find new markets
Recognize and plan for industry and economic shifts - keep up with the dynamics of the economy and demography by shifting inventory, price and staff levels as needed, adjust to new regulations and technological breakthroughs, find un-serviced or under-serviced markets
Prepare for expansion - find the ideal location for a new branch location, determine the ideal changes to your distribution channels, identify how the expansion will affect your current customer base