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An “enigma” is defined as something which is mysterious or puzzling. To many in business market research is an enigma – when is it used? Who uses it? Why would it be used now when we have been functioning just fine without it?
Part of the problem is that market research is often not thought of as a central business function, and at best will fall into a peripheral part of sales, marketing or customer experience. It doesn’t receive a lot of its own airtime, so it’s often not seen to be necessary for the day-to-day running of a business. Indeed, when there are times of budget issues, market research is often one of the first to fall in the line of fire.
However, market research is (or should be) considered to be the backbone of any strategic decision. It is the most precious source of information, because it is the only data source that a business cannot generate themselves using their own internal data. It sheds light on what people actually think and feel, rather than simply looking at the actions they have already taken.
Despite it being a precious commodity, there is generally a distinct lack of knowledge about what market research is. This really came to the fore for me when a client recently said ‘I’d love to know more about market research, and what you do more generally’.
This ‘enigma’ is the challenge faced by market researchers today. Those who don’t use research in their business decisions often have questions around why they would need it: how do you know the right questions to ask, where do the answers come from, how is it collected, and how do we interpret it? Plus, the big one, what do research consultants do?
Some of this lack of understanding comes from:
It’s simple. To prevent research being seen as a mysterious source of information, we researchers should be empowering more people to get familiar with running market research and using the results.
It should be democratised so everyone in the business, regardless of department, can see the value of what it brings and understand how it works.
It needs to be shouted about because research represents consumer voices – that precious data point that is not sourced within businesses, yet provides the reality about what your consumers really think and feel. This then allows businesses to make better strategic decisions, based on having this real consumer truth.
Creating surveys that deliver quality, actionable insights doesn’t have to be so hard. Here’s how you can do it.
Client Experience Executive
Vanessa is a member of the ACE team at Attest. She spends her day sharing her expertise on all things market research related, and helping clients get the most from our amazing platform. She's been in the biz for over a decade, working at some of the top traditional research agencies, and with a whole host of brands from the biggest and most loved, to the emerging start-up!
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