What it tells us is that, of all the knowledge in the world, all, we can be sure of, is what we know and what we know we don’t know. But most of the knowledge in the world, we don’t even know we don’t know!
When you think about it that way, it makes you realize that we have a lot of learning to do!
And that’s just the problem. We, as human beings, are very content with what we know. And we keep very busy trying to find out what we don’t know. However, we forget to consider the vast array of things that “we don’t know we don’t know.”
Marketers agree that it is important to conduct marketing research to improve our decisions. But, then, why do so many businesses neglect marketing research when push comes to shove?
We know the excuses, er… reasons. “We don’t have the budget.” Or “We don’t have the time.” Or “Its too expensive.” Or (worst of all) “We already know what our customers want.” But here are six critical reasons to do marketing research:
1. Marketing Research keeps you focused on your target consumers or customers.
You know how it is. Everyone in your business talks about how the customer is the most important person in the business, but how many of them actually act that way? In fact, even the consumer marketing giant Coca Cola sometimes loses sight of the customer. Back when Donald Keough was CEO and Roberto Goizueta was CMO, Keough told him “My wife doesn’t like our advertising.” Goizueta cooly replied, “Your wife is not my target market.” Marketing Research serves to bring the customer perspective continually into the boardroom and makes customers the focal point for decision-making.
2. Marketing Research helps you prioritize, so you can focus on what important.
“If everything is very important, then nothing is important” (Brian Mulroney and others)
With businesses striving for ultimate productivity, the pressure is on employees to produce. Everyone in every business has too much to do. But how much of this “busyness” is being spent on activities that are truly “important”. How can you decide to stop doing something, if you don’t know whether it is important or unimportant? Marketing Research can help you understand the difference. (And maybe you’ll even get home for dinner once in a while!)
3. Marketing Research helps you determine which options will be most lucrative.
Which of the new product options under consideration will make the most money? Will it be through premium pricing or higher volume? Which marketing materials will bring customers through the door? In marketing, we spend a lot of time choosing between options and Marketing Research is the only way to know which choice will be the winner.
4. Marketing Research gives you a competitive advantage.
The information that you get from Marketing Research is exclusive to you. This gives you a significant competitive advantage. You now know what you didn’t know before, and your competitors remain in the dark. Marketing research can also be used to attain information about your competitors where you can identify their strengths and weaknesses and gain clues about their future strategies. This will keep you steps ahead of the competition.
5. Marketing Research helps you make better decisions and reduces risk.
You’re launching a new product or service. It has been in development for 18 months at an investment of $1.5M. What’s the cost of failure? Marketing research provides the information that can help you feel more confident that your product launch will provide a good ROI. After all, if there are weaknesses to shore up, isn’t it better to do that before you go to the marketplace?
But using Marketing Research to reduce risk isn’t just for product launches. Having more information when making any marketing or business decision will improve the outcome.
6. Marketing Research keeps you relevant and future focused.
“The Only Constant in Life is Change.”
You’ve heard that often enough. When do you think it was said?
Heraclitus The Obscure is credited with saying this – and he died in 475 BC. So, while we like to think that change is a relatively new phenomenon, it isn’t. In fact, people have been struggling with change for centuries. It might be that the rate of change is increasing, but we still have to deal with change.
Marketing Research can help you stay ahead of change, by helping you identify and understand trends, behavior, and perceptions that impact your customers. What will they want next year? Next month? Marketing Research insight is the foundation for your plans.
Marketing Research is kind of a superhero for business decision-makers. When you’re standing on the precipice of a difficult and risky marketing decision, information is your lifeline. Marketing Research provides the information that ensures business success – and saves careers from disaster! So go ahead – reach for that lifeline. It only makes sense.