Key elements for the success of a product or a service lie with the ability to understand the market position, consumer behavior pertaining to the industry, customer perception on the product, branding and advertising strategies, as well as distribution and geographical positioning of the product, and identifying vital opportunities and threats. Possession of such in-depth awareness about a product and its environment is key to the success of a product brand, subsequently leading to the sustainability of the company.
Comprehensive market research and a consumer insight analysis can provide an in-depth understanding of the brand and its market, which can assist in making well informed data-driven strategic business decisions.
There could be a brilliant idea for a product or a service, it could even be an innovation, but it may not be a success without proper market research and consumer insight are analyzed prior to the launch.
For an already running business, it is imperative to have market research and an intelligence team in order to base strategic direction of its brand. Insights from market and consumer researches should be applicable throughout the product cycle.
Areas that can benefit from market research:
- New Product Market Entry
- Brand Marketing Strategy
- New Product Concept Generation
- Product & Market Opportunity Scanning
- B2B Market Position Profile
- Public Affairs Strategy
- Change of banding (change of labeling, packaging,)
- Advertising strategy
- Understanding of subsegments of the market
- Understanding the geographics of the market
Market Research plays a vital role in a market entry:
Market research and consumer insight are undoubtedly the very first steps a business leader should take when entering a new market.
Market Research Can help in Product Design/Re-design:
Consumer preferences must be taken into consideration when designing the product. The uses, perception, buying behavior, price and cultural values should be key aspects to be considered by the product development team.
Understanding the existing and potential customer base is extremely important for the sustainability of the brand, subsequently of the stability of the company.
Designing and marketing a product, encroaching to a new consumer base without a proper understanding of the market is like shooting in the dark. It could hit, it could not. One of the most recent, classic examples is the failure of Target in Canada.
According to RetailConsultant, Target ignored customer data. Target failed to dig deep into customer behavior, analyze competition, correct and choose the right location. They had already chosen to overlook distribution issues. Such business catastrophes could have strategically been avoided if they had conducted an in-depth, effective market and consumer behavior survey.
Success stories of effective Market Research and Consumer Insight Analysis:
TD Bank is a great example of the success of their viral growth during the past several years. Analysts consider TD to have followed the disruptive banking concept or to have used guerrilla tactics in order to make it’s market position become customer-centric. TD used market research in numerous avenues to understand pain points of customer relationship and attempted to fix them one by one, according to the CMO of TD USA, Vinoo Vijay. As an example, one of the big pain points banking customers experienced was banking hours. TD pioneered in creating precedence by introducing longer branches hours, which resulted in an increase in business.
The following link is to an advertisement about TD longer banking hours:
TD bank has used their customer responses towards providing an extraordinary customer experience to connect with their community and make an emotional connection between the customer and the bank. TD collected data only through their customers, their insight from TD staff.
TD Bank uses numerous market research approaches in its customer centricity initiatives. They used “guestology” as one of their internal market research methods.
Guestology was a type of market research that Disney used. It is a customer-focused market research that “gives their frontline staff large ownership of the customer experience. [site] One of the key areas of focus of Guestology is on careful listening and rewarding staff who interact well with customers.
The following is an excellent video which shows how TD has achieved its point of distinction (PoD) of being customer-centric by tapping into the human side of banking and moving away from traditional banking method through market research.
Forbes CMO Interview: TD Bank’s Vinoo Vijay – http://www.forbes.com/video/3886177357001/
Hurdles for Market Research:
These key factors of deciding to conduct market research, which oftentimes are not taken into consideration, include:
- Market Research is not necessary: managers who are in a conventional framework may have a preconceived notion that market research is not something mandatory.
- No funds allocated for market research
- The company may not be ready to launch the new product yet.
- Depend on instinct, guesswork: Many marketers, especially in SMBs, who are accustomed to the conventional guesswork, managing by guts, could be resistant to change.
- Shy away at numbers: A larger portion of marketers and businesses tend to find the easy way out. Results could be detrimental.
- Conventional thinking: Confined into a family run business mentality such as not wanting big data, refusing to go beyond the family-run business mentality such as carrying on the same ideals as the previous generations and not willing to change due to these methods still bringing in profits, thinking that research is only for bigger corporations.
The following video is not directly related to the points above, but it does portray some commonly held misbeliefs on data.
Why Market Research Matters – http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242521
Step 3 for a Successful Startup: The Importance of Market Research – http://www.forbes.com/sites/shawnoconnor/2013/04/23/step-3-for-a-successful-startup-the-importance-of-market-research/#797786cc7596
Why Target failed in Canada: http://fortune.com/2015/01/15/target-canada-fail/
Off-Target: How a U.S. retail giant misread the Canadian market: http://www.macleans.ca/economy/economicanalysis/off-target-how-a-u-s-retail-giant-misread-the-canadian-market/
Why target missed its mark so badly: http://www.macleans.ca/economy/business/why-target-missed-its-mark-so-badly/
4 lessons learned from Target’s Canada exit: http://retailconsultant.ca/4-lessons-learned-target-canadas-exit/
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