Knowing your market is critical. It is the single truth of business. During economic downturns, this knowledge is even more important. It can determine who stays, is acquired, or loses out altogether. However, market research is usually the first thing to go. Why?
You have probably conducted meetings around large tables, lights dimmed, and taken your colleagues and executives through tables and charts filled with data being projected before them. The data tells about the market trends, competition, the customers. This knowledge is going to transform how your company does business, or so you think. Mostly, your audience sits there wondering when lunch will be brought in or about the next bathroom break. Oh, wait, is that the CEO with his head back, eyes closed, mouth open and snoring in the back? You are the Scientist: smart, analytical, well researched, and confident in the numbers.
Market research is too often a casualty of reduced spending for this very reason. Marketers turn into Scientists, testing, re-testing, and overanalyzing their customers, competitors, and performance. This tendency disconnects the information from the insight leading projects into experiments and paralysis.
Let us take a look at the Wizard. He is wise, knowledgeable, and looking for the next move. The Wizard knows before conducting the research possible actions to take based on outcomes. He looks at the market in order to pick a path rather than just being smart about his surroundings. Trends indicate the direction for product and offer innovation. Competitive analysis maps out a solid positioning strategy. Marketing effectiveness dashboards guide marketing mix optimization. The Wizard weaves magic for the company by transforming data into thought out and supported action.
The Scientist: Trapped by the Numbers
- Experiments and tests
- Full of facts and figures
- Organization is unclear of value
The Wizard: Calculating the Next Move
- Wise through experience
- Forward thinking
- Takes action on insight
- Highly valued in the organization
1.) Design what-if scenarios before engaging in research
2.) Design research to gather information for each scenario
3.) Set a project timeline that coincides with business milestones
4.) Analyze information collected to prove out each scenario
5.) Generate a plan featuring the chosen scenario supported with research
Acting like a Wizard will ensure your success and that market research remains relevant to the business and a required component of strategy and planning. Acting as the scientist reduces your value and leaves your organization vulnerable in the marketplace.