We can replace the classic song lyrics “War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing” with “Research! What is it good for? ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING!” Sometimes research can be difficult to fully grasp though. We can find ourselves asking, “What is it and when do I need it?” Sometimes it isn’t clear and we only have a vague notion as to what research is and what it does for us. A professor of mine once said, “It’s more than just going to the library.” When it comes to a company or brand, research is important. It can help make a decision that could impact thousands of lives.
Let’s take a look at a hypothetical example. Perhaps a company wants to know whether or not a certain factory is as productive as the others. A research study would be conducted to find the answer. Now, what happens if they learn the company is not as productive? If this is the case, and the research is executed properly, it may uncover areas for improvement to consider besides shutting down the factory. The study may uncover a major issue of outdated machinery, causing a decrease in productivity. It may also expose performance issues with the staff and provide areas of improvement. There may even be issues with training of the staff, which can be addressed to get the factory back on track. Research can provide a clear vision and steps that need to be taken in order to revive productivity.
Research can answer all the questions a company had before making important decisions, signing a deal, or even adding a cereal brand to its name.
There are two kinds of research: primary and secondary.
Secondary: Explores existing data, making it the cheaper option.
Secondary research is based on information from studies previously performed by government agencies and other organizations. This kind of market research is typically easier to find and keeps the cost lower than having to start from scratch. For instance, you can find secondary market research online at government or industry websites, at your local library, on business websites, and in magazines and newspapers. The disadvantage of secondary market research is that it is not customized to your needs, so it may not be as useful as primary market research. For example, secondary research may tell you how much money U.S. teenagers spent last year on jeans, but not how much they may be willing to pay for your companies specific pair. Along with this, secondary research often has a short “shelf life” and the data may be too old to be useful.
Primary: Collects new data.
Primary marketing research is tailored to your company’s particular needs and is conducted by a company that is commissioned to perform the research. Focus groups, interviews, and surveys are great examples of primary marketing research. This kind of research provides very specific results which may help you launch a new product or service more effectively with your customers in mind.
According to Jeanne Campbell, Project and Planning Manager at Mindspot, “We typically use primary progressive mixed research methodologies, referred to as hybrid research. This is when you combine qualitative research methodologies like focus groups, interviews or observational studies with quantitative research. Qualitative research looks at behavioral elements, whereas quantitative research looks at statistical data.” We recommend customizing research based on your business objectives and the questions you need answered.
Are you starting to think that research may be a good idea? So ask yourself, what do you want to know? What do you need to know? Now, how can you get the answer? If research comes to mind, then this post may have proven itself quite useful.