By Amy Jones
Research is an invaluable tool for brands or media organizations, but it’s important to know the right way to find and use it. To help navigate the ins and outs of market research, the team from Kynetec, a global leader in agriculture and animal health market research, presented best practices at the 2019 TOCA Annual Meeting.
According to Kynetec market research specialists Liz Vickerman and Kim Meyer, there are two primary sources of data: secondary research developed by an outside company and research compiled by yourself using a variety of tools.
Secondary research is great, as it takes away the work of surveying people and analyzing data. Additionally, as many organizations and companies produce research studies, it is often easy to find and use data, as long as you are providing the necessary credit.
There are several resources that can be used to uncover secondary research:
- Google Trends
- Google Scholar
- State of the industry reports
- Organizations (e.g., National Golf Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture)
However, depending on the topic, secondary research may not be available. In that case, it might be time to move forward with your own market research. Before spending time, money or resources researching a topic, you should ascertain what you are trying to uncover.
To shape the research process, ask these questions:
- What is your objective?
- What is your audience/target?
- What is your current assumption/belief?
- Who needs to be involved in the research process (e.g., key stakeholders)?
- When do you need the information and when will the information’s usefulness expire?
- What will you do with the results?
Answers to the above questions will help provide clear direction and ensure you are getting the right information.
Countless tools and resources can make the process of gathering research as simple or complex as you desire. Examples include self-serve survey software, sentiment analysis using an artificial intelligence platform, and online qualitative platforms.
Additionally, a vast variety of people, including agency partners, can offer a database of targeted resources, creative partners, trade show attendees and research suppliers that can provide their specific research expertise.
To proceed with a research project, consider several factors:
- How much research do you need? Maybe your project just requires input from a few people, versus a massive polling of thousands of people. But if you are compiling research for a product launch, you should take in more information, as relying on one person’s opinion could have disastrous results.
- How important is the question you are trying to answer? As mentioned above, a major product launch requires a lot of research, whereas choosing a tie color requires less input.
- What is your budget? The budget drastically impacts the level of research. Depending on the importance of the question, you may need to provide more resources.
- How complex is the research? This is determined by how much data you need and how you need the data to be analyzed – possibly requiring an outside company with more experience.
- Where are you in the product’s life cycle? Different types of research make more sense, depending on stage of development. A supplier can help you determine the different types of research needed.
Several types of research that can be used, depending on what you are hoping to learn or uncover. A few options include:
- Market exploration: Allows you to obtain information about the market, which is especially useful when exploring a new, unfamiliar market.
- Market segmentation: Helps to define key target markets and determine the best strategy for each segment.
- New product concept assessment: Assesses reactions to a new concept, including the likelihood of use and general price acceptance.
- Ad concept or campaign testing: Evaluates several concepts or campaigns and determines the effectiveness of numerous diagnostics.
- Pricing research: Assesses sales, profitability and elasticity at different pricing levels
- Customer journey: Maps the path to purchase and helps with understanding touch points the target audience experiences with a brand.
Market research is an invaluable tool that can strengthen product launches, enhance articles or content, and help determine the right way to speak to a specific audience. However, it is critical to correctly conduct market research to ensure you are finding the right information. If not, the result can be wasted time and money.