Getting the Most Out of Your Research Dollar
By Jim Modica, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Winton Associates
“We want to do some market research on that!" is a phrase market researchers often hear from companies.
Sounds like a good idea, and market research does provide invaluable information…when it is well thought through from conception to completion. Before going forward, it is imperative to:
Set a concrete objective for the research.
Think about the issue at hand.
What’s the real problem?
WHY do you think market research will help?
Homing in on the precise issue that needs attention gives you a better shot at getting actionable results.
And speaking of actionable results, think about what you are going to DO with the results. How will you use the answers you get from the research to solve the problem at hand and further your business? That will lead you to asking more precise questions.
The market research expert you choose to conduct your research can help you define the type of research—qualitative or quantitative—that would work best for your needs. That brings me to another important element that will help you get the most out of your research: be sure to include your market researcher in your entire thought process. A market researcher should be under confidentiality agreements, so it’s entirely safe, and, indeed, essential to let that professional in on the entire scope of both the current project and the background of the product. Market researchers who have had experience on the client side understand your issues, IF you tell them what they are. Knowing the history of the product, business or therapeutic area, other issues it may have faced and any competitive contenders or potential contenders, puts the researcher right in your mindset. With that knowledge, they can help you frame questions that add the most value to your research. And, if it is qualitative research you’re doing, the moderator can steer the conversation to vital areas of interest as they come up in the conversation.
And, finally, there is the report. An experienced market researcher not only can analyze the data from the research but also synthesize it with what they know about your market (which, of course, you’ve prepped them on). These are the building blocks for making strategic recommendations and mapping out next steps based on the data.
So, if you’re planning on spending money on market research, use the above steps to get the biggest bang for your research dollar.
Jim Modica has more than 30 years of experience in communications, market research and executive placement. In addition to his leadership role at Jeff Winton Associates, Jim is co-founder and principal partner of West Mill Consulting, LLC, providing clients in the healthcare and agricultural field with marketing strategy, public relations, internal and external communication, and creative development support in addition to executive recruitment.