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Perception Vs Reality in Market Research: Are We Focusing on Right Things

“What man perceives is different from what he receives.” When it comes to Market Research we perceive the myth that buzz around us. But the reality is totally different and once you dig the reality, the myth goes off.

There are so many different perceptions regarding Market Research which contradicts with the reality. Let me point out some of those:

1. Market Research is Too Costly: The question here is not so much about cost as it is about risk. We have a choice to invest the money now or invest even more money later. Because once planning failed, while launching a new product or entering into a new market, it will going to cost even more to rectify it.

It is rightly said that “Precaution is better than cure”. So better take preventive measure, and market research can do it for you. And that’s the Reality. Market Research saves your money by educating you about valuable market insight which protects your company against losses.

For, those who perceive Market research is expensive, I would like to say that in reality it’s a Value Investment where you will be benefited in Long run because business never die, it may be ill, so take care of it.

2. A Researcher Could Never Understand My Complex Business: This perception regarding market researcher doesn’t make much sense because they don’t have to understand the detailed complexities of your business; they just need to be well-versed in the different types of research available to get the answers you need.

In reality, decent research firms do invest their time and resources to understand client’s organizations and the industries in which they operate. Their research expertise is much more valuable than to understand client’s organizations in depth. Regardless of the industry, a good researcher can design a study that will deliver against your objectives. Often, their experience in other categories will give you a much needed fresh perspective on the challenges you face.

So, those who perceive Market researcher will not understand their Complex Business, I will say “They are the experts and their experience in different industries is an add on, to nail your objectives”. And that’s the reality!

3. We Can Do Our Own Research: Yes! One can do their own research. You can carry out the research by interviewing your friends and internal networks about your brand, or going on your Social page and asking fans what they think. But all these sample units fall under convenience sampling and most of the time it is seen that the research output is biased.

Sometimes, when companies are working on a challenging problem or divisive project such as socioeconomic and political change. It can be hard for a firm to make decisions or take the necessary actions without getting wrapped up in emotions or politics. So, perceiving to do your own research will give you the findings, which is influenced. And any business decision taken based on it will incur a cost to the company.

A good market researcher, in reality, presents themselves as an impartial third party, inviting consumers to tell the truth without feeling like they are talking directly to the brand. Getting a half-truth from your customer will not help get the real answers you need. Researchers are highly skilled in structuring their research studies to minimize bias in the data.

So, those who perceive to do their own research, don’t go for it unless you have unbiased expert people. In reality, market research can give you the important information without any bias.

4. Collecting Bags of data is sufficient in market research: It’s easy in today’s world to gather data because we are living in a digitized era where most of us have a digital phone, every purchase is scanned and opinions are posted and tweeted on social media. So one can gather lots of consumer data. In fact, if there is so much data it is hard to decipher the valuable from the invaluable. And if one failed to transform this data into information, it will merely be a scrap, which yield no result.

Data is only valuable if there is insight behind it to help you find the right direction. A good research partner will not only help you access and collect important consumer data, but will also dig deep to discover prescriptive insights that can positively shape your brand.

So, if you perceive that Collecting Bags of data is sufficient to answer the research objectives then you are wrong.

In reality, it is the market researcher who can analyse those data and dig out some meaningful information for you.

5. Investing in Market research during recession is just a waste of money: It is the right thing to do, to cut down the cost during recession. In times of caution, businesses need to take a closer look at their structures & processes, and shape out the profitability and not so profitable areas where they’re spending money.

But when it comes to market research, the costs should actually be increased rather than being decreased during such phases of recession. The key for the entrepreneurs to face recession successfully, is to stay up-to-date with the ever evolving market prospects and market research can do it for you.

Investing money into research, by interviewing people for surveys and focus groups, will go straight back into the business. The feedback and subsequent research will help companies glean important information and then they know how to approach the market during these difficult times.

So, those who perceive that “Investing in Market research during recession is just a waste of moneyare actually not right. Because in reality, during recession, it is the market research who can provide you the valuable information regarding consumer demand & their trend and help you to build brand or to retain it.

As you can see from above, perception makes us deceptive. So, let focus on the reality of market research and make the right choice.

Business Research – Trend is going up for Startups

“Business research” is broad — it could mean research for, by or with the business. Business research can be a lot of things. This might be merely you or someone you hire who hunts the Internet for information about markets, competitors, companies, etc. It can be understanding annual reports or analyzing websites and making conclusions.

Business Research is primarily to know the business goals and KPIs. How the industry or business is executing and shaping up. Business research may or may not contain competitor or customer analysis, but a sole study of the business in question. Depending on the subject in hand, business research can mean a lot of things. Executives and managers who use business research methods, are able to better comprehend their company, the position it holds in the market and how to improve that position.

Reasons for Business Research

Before startups get the research, ball rolling, startups need to come up with a solid business concept. Once startups have a concept, startups need to determine if it’s viable. To figure out if startups should go ahead with your business idea, startups need to ask questions like these:

Is the market saturated?

Does the market want what startups are offering?

What’s the competition doing?

Can startups reach their target audience?

Launching a startup involves having an exceptional & unique idea, but it is also important to know if there is a large abundance of customer base to support the idea. Business Research is helpful. Business research helps business managers discover new markets and make the most of their resources. They are important for startups and investors.

Business research also helps startups of all sizes evaluate the strength of their competition, and it assists gauge the strength of a brand. Knowing whether a brand is effective and when it needs to be replaced generally requires using surveys and other tools. In addition, research aids attract investors. An investor needs to know how likely a company or product is to succeed before risking money, and thorough business research may be enough to convince a potential investor to take a chance. Some investors even perform their own research.

 Types of Business Research

Employ a variety of business research types to maximize the benefit that data can provide your company.

  • Descriptive Vs Analytical
  • Applied Vs Fundamental
  • Quantitative Vs Qualitative
  • Conceptual Vs Empirical

Fields of Business Research

Business research programs are an increasingly popular way for companies to train and educate their managers and other employees in a vast array of different fields.

International business a field covered in the umbrella term of Business Research. For company directors who are on the rim of enlarging their operations beyond their national boundaries sending staff on courses relating to this field is highly advisable.

Another field in business research is Sales and Sales techniques. This is especially important for many startups as sales are the method of securing new income. Certainly, sales techniques will vary depending upon, the services or products being sold, but there are certain general rules that should be followed. By having a well-trained and informed sales team, they will be capable to bring more trade, and hence expand the portfolio and profits of the company.

User Research

With companies insisting high on understanding the behaviours and needs of their potential and actual users (consumer) to be appealing in the market.  It has created the necessity for the emergence of user Research. Before leaping into user research, let me take you through the differences between the Market Research and User Research.

Difference between the Market Research and User research

Even though the methods adopted in Market Research and User research are similar the purpose they serve are entirely different. The market research helps you to identify the demand for your product in the market.

Whereas User Research observes how the market is performing and identifies where there is necessity for improvement in the market. In this form of research potential users and actual users of the product are considered to be the target segment, where recommendations and observations related to product are captured from them for the betterment of product.

Why user research is essential?

As mentioned above, Market research will help companies to identify the potential market for their product. But User research will help companies to reinforce their product appeal in the market. User Research has a significant role in both development and lifecycle stages of a Product.

To enter into the market, with a product that is appealing and to win consumer appreciation has not been an easy task for companies these days. It’s not enough to know your consumers, but it is more important to know the pulse of your consumers.

Yes, what you read was right the scope for product innovation is high in today’s competitive market. To outstand from your competitors it’s essential to be innovative. Hence, User research is shaping itself as one of important tool for companies and product mangers to develop a product that accurately meets the needs of the consumers.

With User research being an iterative process with a lesser sample size being used for observational research. This will help companies to interact with actual users of their product to understand their behaviour, expectations and motive. Hence forth the companies will be able to identify their improvement areas of their products.

So which is essential Market Research or User Research?     

Market Research will help companies to get a bigger picture of the potential consumers for their product in the market, it plays an important role in understanding the demand for your existing product and also your new product prototype in the market. This research will help companies to mitigate the risk of product failure in the market. Moreover, market research will also help companies to understand the demand for their existing product in new markets.

User research plays an important role in strengthening the product appeal in the market both at the development and aftermarket stage of the product. However both these research becomes vital for companies to enter in to the market with new product prototype and also to improve the existing product in the market by responding to consumers’ needs.

Functional Testing in Market Research

“Effective decision making is important to shape your business and a key to success.”

In Market Research, the key to have an effective research report depends on the research procedure decision. And to test the decision, market researcher conduct functional testing or you can say pre-testing. Functional testings’ are crucial components of a sound survey design. Conducting a pre-test does not guarantee success in the main study, but it does increase the likelihood of success.

Functional testing fulfils a range of important functions and can provide valuable insights for other researchers. There is a need for more discussion among researchers of both the process and outcomes of this pre-testing.

When a research proposal is proposed, it undergoes through various steps- define the objective, designing the research study, collecting the data, analysing and visualizing the data and finally communicating the outcome with the node.

It’s a long process and incur considerable amount of time & money. Regrettably, many research ideas that seem to show great promise are unproductive when actually carried out. The functional study almost always provides adequate data for the researcher to decide whether to proceed forwards with the main study.

Therefore, market researcher prefers to have functional testing to examine the feasibility of operations and to gather information on prior to a larger field. The principal end of functional testing is not to collect research data, but to limit the possible loopholes in the research design and to refine the procedures before the actual data are gathered. The secondary goal of functional testing is to see if the planned statistical analyses work. Problems that show up in the functional testing are repaired by changing the data collection procedures or the statistical analyses.

For example: Researcher’s functional testing revealed that going door–to–door to recruit participants in a college residence hall to distribute a questionnaire individually took too much time. Then he adjusted his procedure and recruited participants at a weekly residence hall meeting and passed out the questionnaire in that group setting instead. (Faced by ResearchFox)

The advantage of carrying a functional testing is that it can give advance warning about where the main research project could fail, where research protocols might not be followed, or whether proposed methods or legal documents are inappropriate or overly complicated. In short: ‘Do not take the risk. Functional test first.

Functional testing can be based on quantitative and/or qualitative methods and large-scale studies might employ a number of functional studies before the primary study is taken. Consequently, researchers might start with ‘qualitative data collection and analysis of a relatively unexplored topic, using the results to design a subsequent quantitative phase of the study.

The first phase of a functional testing involve using in-depth interviews or focus groups to accost the issues to be addressed in a large-scale questionnaire survey. Next the questionnaire could be piloted, for example, the wording and order of the questions, or the range of answers on multiple-choice questions could be tested. A final functional study could be conducted to examine the research procedure, such as the different ways of giving out and collecting the questionnaires.

In a recent study exploring nurses’ and midwives’ attitudes to research followed this pattern: in this study, focus groups were used to identify key issues from which a questionnaire could be developed, and this was then piloted before the study proper.

Functional testing permits, preliminary testing of the hypotheses that leads to trying out more precise hypotheses in the main study. It may lead to changing some hypotheses, dropping some, or springing up new hypotheses. It frequently provides the researcher with ideas, approaches, and clues you may not have foreseen before conducting the pilot survey. Such ideas and clues increase the chances of getting clearer findings in the main study.

Functional testing thus enables the market researcher to select those alternative measures that bring forth the unblemished results for the main study and saves time & money.