Market research is a powerful planning and guidance tool. It is also not a magic solution - the world of business is so fluid that it is impossible to produce universally applicable results. Some leaders tend to downplay research in favor of lessons learned on the job or from their seniors.
Mentors can be an invaluable guiding force, but they are individuals constrained by finite personal experiences and susceptible to prejudiced perspectives. When you need unbiased information from real-world scenarios, it is difficult to look past the nuggets gleaned from qualitative and the hard numbers from survey research for guidance.
Conducting good research is not easy. There is a dedicated science behind the process, and protocols must be followed for the results to produce actionable recommendations. This usually involves a considerable investment of time, effort, and money. Can your organization spare the resources? Will senior management be receptive to the suggestions? Are the potential benefits of the change worth the effort of implementation?
One of the strongest arguments in favor of market research is the safety net the results provide. It is difficult to justify a judgement call based on anecdotal evidence and "common sense" if things go awry. Conversely, an ultimately poor decision that can be attributed to accredited research will be perceived more positively by shareholders and senior managers.
Many managers also turn to market research because certain information can only be obtained via this marketing tool, such as:
Market research data is a condensed summary of real facts and figures, devoid of preconceptions. For this reason, the data generated forms a reliable component of the decision-making process and accords a level of professionalism to the decisions that it inspires. When conducted by seasoned professionals, there is simply no substitute for the value of the insights gleaned from market research.
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