What research do you need to conduct this year? How do you determine how and when to execute it? These are just some of the questions that companies may be asking themselves right about now. Research and budget planning requires teams to be explicit about their research needs. Or oftentimes, a company-wide understanding of the research plan for next year is critical as market research impacts many areas from product, to engineering, to marketing. As a result, before planning for this year’s research, consider incorporating these steps into your process.
1. Evaluate Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Whether the year’s focus is on customer acquisition or retention, branding or product development, or if it’s a combination of each, understanding how they should be prioritized based on strengths and weaknesses is the first step towards crafting a market research plan. Of course, other priorities that come up, like pushing a launch of a new product, certainly factor into the research plan, understanding how they should be prioritized from a research perspective could help save time and money.
Any strengths and weaknesses evaluation can start with a SWOT analysis of sorts, but a research assessment should also include
- What research was conducted in the past year and what had the most positive impact
- Where the gaps in research that wasn’t conducted exist and what still needs to be addressed and why
One of the most important practices for understanding your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the research conducted and what needs to be addressed includes revisiting research, especially if the outcomes weren’t as expected. This will allow a brand to learn from past research and improve upon it, or have a backup plan in place for when problems arise. As we know, every penny of a research budget must be utilized efficiently to create as much success as possible.
2. Define Overarching Objectives
Depending on each area of focus the research entails (i.e. branding, product development, etc.) specific objectives should be set. After understanding their research based on past strengths and weaknesses, a brand may find they’ve frequently failed to execute concept testing quickly enough to truly support product development. Therefore the objective should be clear in this case to either reassess their product timelines or execute the research more quickly. Additionally, if a brand is looking to improve their awareness and social impact, they should incorporate objectives into their research plan that allow for more thorough testing of advertising and creative.
3. Anticipate the Answers Needed
Similar to defining the research objectives, determining what answers are needed in a broad sense can simplify the research process. Perhaps you need to determine how much, why, when, or where—or maybe it’s all of the above. But asking what answers are needed determines how robust the research plan needs to be and defines the methodologies that will likely need to be used. Before seeking out answers, companies should also ask themselves if they have the right research partner in place. While not every provider can accommodate every methodology or research objective, having one that can pinpoint needs with a relevant solution means they can spend more time understanding the business, personalizing the experience, and crafting relevant insights. This allows companies to make quicker decisions and worry less about what the research means and instead focus on how they should act on it.
The right research partner can prove instrumental in helping develop a market research plan or at least assess whether you’re headed in the right direction. They can easily answer questions like how frequently to conduct research, with who, and how. To learn more about how we support the answers needed by combining quantitative and qualitative methodologies, download the eGuide below. You’ll also learn how these methodologies can be used together to deliver more robust insights.