Jonathan Li and Swati Mohta
One of the most valuable assets of any business is its brand. Just as a house needs a strong foundation to stay sturdy, an effective brand strategy needs thorough market research. Far too often, businesses skip the market research process because the company claims that it already knows its consumers. However, it takes a lot to understand your target audience’s wants and needs. To prevent this disconnect, companies must first have a stronger understanding of market research and how and when to use it.
For marketers, research is not just about filling in the knowledge gaps, but it also serves as the basis for good decision making. Research provides valuable insights about products, services, consumers, competitors and trends.
Now why is this important? Market research is essential for the planning of any brand strategy. The data helps ensure that you are identifying the correct opportunity by targeting the right consumer in the right market and satisfying the right need. Without market research, there is no substance or facts behind your strategy and can result in a negative return on investment (ROI).
There are three broad types of research: Qualitative, Quantitative and Secondary Research. Qualitative research is more open-ended and is great for testing initial concepts or ideas. Quantitative research is statistically represents the audience you are targeting. Secondary research is information that is already out there. Some research companies have access to several data sources in order to provide a comprehensive view of the marketplace.
For research to be effective, it is important for companies to have a clear understanding of the purpose of research and what information is being sought. Market Research professionals provide the expertise many companies do not have in-house. Often these experts have the skills and the tools to execute the research accurately, efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition, these professionals also help bring objectivity to the result, thus, providing a clear and unbiased direction for business decision-making.