Your organization is faced with a significant business challenge or opportunity: Competitive pressure, Alternative path to market, Revised sales model, New product or technology launch, Adjusted brand experience, New digital marketing strategy, Market share erosion, Sales decline, Margin pressure, Lost customers, Evolving customer target. The list of challenges and opportunities goes on. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there.
A team is assembled to lead your organization to future success. The challenge is crystallized, goals are defined, timelines and budgets provided, and the strategy development process ensues. Your team outlines the marketing research required to support effective decision making and lead the business to desired results. After all, understanding the market, key competitors, and customers is critical to making the best business decisions. It seems obvious, right?
Unfortunately, many organizations and business leaders fall prey to believing there is limited need for marketing research. They cite the following kinds of reasons for skipping this critical step:
- “We’ve been in this market for years. Our intuition is stronger than marketing research.”
- “The data we have is ‘good enough’.”
- “We just don’t have the time to complete a research study.”
- “I never learn anything new in market research.”
- “Research tells me about the past… not the future.”
- “We don’t get high value in our marketing research studies.”
- “Research does not help me make decisions.”
While these explanations are common, the need for quality marketing research has never been greater than it is today. Organizations most need quality marketing research under the following conditions:
- Market dynamics are changing – rapidly. Changes in: consumer demands, government policies and regulations, global trade, macro-economic factors, access to labor, customer profitability, and more.
- The target customer is changing – rapidly. Changes in: demographics, drivers of purchase behavior, price sensitivity, definition of value, use of technology, preferred communication approaches, ability to access information, willingness to try new offers, willingness to switch suppliers and brands, desired relationship with suppliers, and more.
- Competitor approaches are changing – rapidly. New or evolving: competitors, products/ technologies/services, approaches to market, customer relationship models, brand positions, pricing models, communication methods, and more.
- Your organization is changing – rapidly. New: Company purpose, products/services/ technologies, markets to enter, paths to market, strategic partnerships, leaders/managers/ salespeople/experts, brand position, customer targets, and more.
Again, do these conditions sound familiar? We always hear that more change will occur in the next 5 years than in the previous 25. That is OK… but, what do we do about it?
To prepare your business for the incredible pace of change ahead, arm your organization with high quality marketing research that answers critical questions, provides actionable insights, supports decision making and delivers the results you seek. The need for marketing research has not been greater than it is today. In a future article, we will outline how to get the most value from your marketing research studies and partner.
About the Author:
Robert Weaver has provided management and marketing consulting insight for nearly 20 years to leading agribusinesses. He believes that high quality marketing research is central to developing differentiating and sustainable strategies that deliver results. He is currently Vice President of Agribusiness for The Farnsworth Group. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-241-5600 x. 104.