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By Tamara Irminger Underwood

Gone are the days when companies could be secure in their monopoly, or near-monopoly, status. The marketplace today is less secure, and even legacy brands don’t rest on their laurels. Ensuring success in today’s competitive marketplace requires businesses, from start-ups to established brands, remain connected to their customers.

As companies prepare budgets for 2019, market research should be given priority, as it is essential for a brand’s long-term success. Qualitative market research is like giving marketing teams a spotlight to better illuminate the darkness surrounding customer behavior. Here are four reasons why your company should prioritize market research in 2019.

Market research helps keep you focused and improve time management

It is no secret that those who work in marketing are pulled in different directions and can easily get sidetracked with competing urgencies. When market research is properly done, it can inform you of what your consumers want, and how and why they think/behave a certain way. Understanding consumers’ behaviors allows marketing teams to prioritize what needs to be accomplished. Rather than wasting time guessing how best to connect with consumers, marketing teams can better manage their time because they know how to reach them. Additionally, well-conducted market research provides a roadmap for short and long-term strategies. You wouldn’t drive to a new locale without consulting a map, so why drive your business into the unknown? Think of market research as the map that gives you multiple routes to your destination.

Market research provides customer insights

It doesn’t matter if you’re a start-up or long-established brand, target customers should always remain a priority. While you may think you know who your target customer is, what most experienced market researchers will tell you is, you likely don’t. Market research is the quickest way to clear through the haze of target audiences and help you learn more about the ages, locations, genders, buying habits, media consumption, and other important factors regarding your target customers.

Market research gets to the “how and why” behind purchasing decisions. With this understanding, your company can better focus on crafting messages that resonate with your target audience and design products or services that are in demand.

Market Research keeps you relevant

There are many examples of legacy companies that look very different than they did from their early years. “Adapt or Die” is a phrase many established brands have taken to heart. Market research allows businesses to make sure they’re adapting in ways that are relevant to their customer bases. Rarely can businesses rest on their laurels. Consumers today are seemingly fickle and what works one year, likely won’t carry over to the next. Market research allows companies to prepare for longer term growth. Again, because market research is like a roadmap, companies can better plan their route for long-term success.

Market Research Aids in Better Understanding of Customer Behavior

As mentioned earlier, customers can be seen as fickle. Market research helps take the guesswork out of trying to understand customers, and instead can provide specific insight into the reasoning behind decision-making processes. There are a number of tried-and-true ways to better understand customers from focus groups to mobile tracking. Experienced market research companies will work with businesses to learn which strategies will be best to learn the most about customers.

Each research project has a different scope and objective and there is no “one size fits all” approach to maximizing what is learned from various target audiences. This is why it is always best to work with a neutral market research firm rather than try to tackle these projects internally. Outsourcing this critical component to experienced market researchers saves money in the long run, as well as provides the least biased insight into what your customers really want. As your company prepares its budget for the upcoming year, keep in mind that long-term success comes down to understanding your customer. Market research is the most cost-effective way to learn more about this key element of your business.

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