Why Do You Need Marketing Research?
Below are some prime situations where marketing research can be of value to the success of your business:
Determining the viability of a new market for your company to enter.
- Estimating market size/share/adoption rate for investment or business planning.
- Identifying new product/service opportunities and value-added offerings.
- Risk management – identifying what risks pose the greatest threat to your business.
- Understanding what customers expect of you and how well you are delivering.
- Root cause analysis for lost business or customer defections.
- Identifying your most profitable customer segments and how to protect them.
- Developing the right price points/identifying bundling opportunities.
- SWOT intelligence on competitors to plan business strategies/identify M&A scenarios.
- Understanding how customers perceive your market positioning relative to competitors.
- Determining the most effective marketing/advertising channels to support your business.
When Do You Need to Do Marketing Research?
Here are some scenarios and trigger points that tell you the time is right for marketing research:
- You have zero, limited, conflicting, or even suspect information about a business issue that needs to be addressed now.
- You know or sense that all is not right with your customers – or distributors – or suppliers – or partners – or investors
- You are losing ground to competitors, but are not sure why.
- You need to perform due diligence for M&A or divestiture planning.
- Groups or individuals within your company do not recognize the existence of a problem or its magnitude, and you need independent validation.
What Are the Basic Types of Marketing Research?
Primary and Secondary Research
This is the most fundamental division of research practices. Primary research refers to original or custom research – gathering information from original sources. It is usually proprietary to a client and not made available to the marketplace. This type of research is our forte at Daniel Associates.
Secondary research involves the compiling of information from existing or published sources. These sources can be internal or external. Internal would be your customer databases, historical files, etc. External would involve searches for published information. Typical sources include newspapers, trade publications, associations, industry reports, and of course, the Internet.
Qualitative and Quantitative Research
Primary research is basically divided into these two categories. In essence, qualitative research addresses emotional issues, while quantitative is based more on reason or logic.
Qualitative research methods strive to understand how people feel or to tap their creative juices. Quantitative techniques are applied to generate meaningful metrics that clearly define the magnitude of a response. For example, qualitative research would uncover how people feel about an issue, whereas quantitative research would measure how strongly they feel about it.
When planning a study or defining its objectives, the consultant must first determine which approach is best suited – qualitative or quantitative. Sometimes only one will suffice, and other times, both are needed. Once determined, the most appropriate methodology needs to be chosen. The most commonly used methods are summarized below.
Qualitative Methods Quantitative Methods Focus groups (ideal size 4-6 people) Telephone interviews Mini groups (fewer people or shorter duration) Self-administered mail surveys One-on-one in-depth personal interviews Online sources – via email or websites Paired in-depth interviews Electronic surveys – compiled on diskette Advisory panels Real time moment-to-moment
(primarily for media research)
What Marketing Research Methods Will Be Best for My Situation?
Why Outsource Marketing Research?
While Daniel Associates is in business to conduct marketing research, we are also consultants, and that role sometimes is purely advisory. There are many cases where you can plan and execute the work, and to keep costs down, we encourage this as much as possible. We are happy to play this role to whatever extent you feel comfortable, whether it be sampling advice, questionnaire design, recruiting, data analysis, or general project management.
In most cases, however, Daniel Associates is contracted to design and execute marketing research in its entirety. Aside from not having the in-house research expertise, there are many reasons why you may choose to outsource. Some of the more common factors are as follows:
- You need to be sure the research is conducted properly by professionals.
- You have a timetable, and need to know the work will be done to schedule.
- Some internal resources are available, but none will be dedicated to getting this work done to your satisfaction.
- You need to have accurate, reliable information to support major decisions.
- You need an objective perspective to get unbiased answers.
- You want strategic insights that bring to bear experiences within your industry at large.
- Findings will be reported to external stakeholders, so you need a recognized authority.
- Research will not have any internal credibility if done in-house.
Marketing Research Myths
Marketing research is not well understood, especially for business-to-business marketers. Some of the more common myths are listed below, and you may be familiar with them. Over the years, we have seen many, and our view is that these myths should not get in the way of you seeing fair value in using marketing research.
If any of these myths apply to your situation, we’d like to hear from you! Frankly, none of these should turn you away from marketing research, especially if you understand the full range of applications to your business.
- Marketing research is complex – all smoke and mirrors. Cannot trust what you do not understand.
- Research is highly technical – our management will never be able to relate to it.
- Do not see any ROI – not tied to any measures of value or tangible outcomes that drive our business, like increasing sales, reducing costs, or improving margins.
- Our industry is very complex – research people don’t understand our business and could not possibly help us.
- Takes too long to do – not helpful for our fast changing business.
- No one in our industry does any, and we’re doing just fine. Just don’t see the point.
- Research only confirms what we already know – we know what our customers want.
- Only important for sales/marketing – it’s not a management tool.
- We tried doing research in-house – it wasn’t very helpful and no one read the report.
- We used a research supplier once – did not work out, haven’t bothered since
What kind of research-based consulting does Daniel Associates offer?
Daniel Associates is a full-service, custom research provider that offers the entire range of market research, media and conversation analytics and competitive intelligence services to help its clients build data driven strategies.
Typical assignments are attitudes and usage studies, message development and testing, brand positioning, ad testing, and thought leadership studies.
We use the appropriate set of research tools for each assignment, leveraging standard market research tools like telephone and online surveys, microtargeting, focus groups, in-depth interviews, ethnographies, dial testing, eye tracking and hosted online communities. In fact, we often use these research tools in combination, beginning with exploratory qualitative research and sharpening our insights with quantitative research.
What research methodologies does Daniel Associates offer?
Daniel Associates conducts both quantitative (phone and online surveys) and qualitative (focus groups, in-depth interviews, hosted online communities and ethnographies) research.
We typically use these methodologies in concert. First we leverage qualitative methods to explore the topic, capture audience language, get inside the world of the target audience, and hone our approach. Then we use quantitative research to gain projectable data, and benchmark and segment the audience.
When is qualitative research appropriate and when is quantitative research appropriate?
Qualitative research such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, ethnographies and hosted online communities are excellent tools for (a) better understanding a target audience, (b) testing basic hypotheses before quantitative research, (c) probing for the underlying motivations and emotional drivers, (d) capturing the language a target audience uses and (e) formulating messaging and product design. Qualitative research is not statistically projectable, but it is directional.
Quantitative research such as phone and online surveys is statistically projectable. It is numerically quantifiable and depends on large sample sizes. Quantitative research is best used for (a) benchmarking and tracking, (b) segmentation, and (c) final message testing.
What are your fees?
No two projects are alike. Each assignment differs in its focus, target audience, and data collection methodologies. Daniel Associates is committed to finding cost-effective research programs to fit any budget range.
Many factors drive research costs. For example, key cost drivers for qualitative research are the size and availability of the target audience(s) and the number of groups conducted. Because most marketing and communications campaigns have several target segments, they typically conduct focus groups among each segment or focus on the segment they believe is most critical. For survey research, cost drivers are (a) the cooperation rate of the target audience, (b) sample size, and (c) survey length.
If you are attempting to price custom research, we recommend consulting with Daniel Associates staff by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
How long does a typical project take from authorization to completion?
Daniel Associates prides itself on the fastest possible turnaround consistent with quality. Speed is one of our core values.
There are five (5) phases to any research project. These are (1) the preparation phase where the methodology is identified and sample or recruiting is conducted, (2) the instrument creation phase, (3) the data collection phase, (4) the analysis phase and (5) the reporting phase. Phases 1 and 2 typically run concurrently, while the others are sequential.
In qualitative research, recruiting participants for focus groups takes two weeks and the focus groups are conducted the following week with an interim report generated by the end of the third week.
In quantitative research the timelines differ dramatically based on the target audience and the nature of the assignment. Surveys can typically be fielded for data collection over several days. The most time is typically taken in the instrument creation phase and the analysis phase. This is especially true when significant segmentation or microtargeting is involved. This entire process typically takes 3-4 weeks, but can be dramatically compressed if the survey instrument can be finalized rapidly.
What are the final deliverables?
For qualitative research, Daniel Associates’s final deliverables are (1) a full report with findings and recommendations, (2) written transcripts of the focus groups or in-depth interviews, and (3) a final client presentation.
For quantitative research, Daniel Associates’s final deliverables are (1) an annotated questionnaire (sometimes called a topline or interview schedule), (2) crosstabulations, (3) a final report with key findings, recommendations and supporting charts and graphs, and (4) a final client presentation.
Where does Daniel Associates conduct research?Daniel Associates has conducted research in every continent and has capabilities in nearly any language.