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The Tangible Value of Market Research

Is Paid Market Research Really Worth It? Can’t we rely on information from 5 years ago? Can’t we use the anecdotal evidence? Aren’t there secondary sources of information available? Which research methodology will provide the best information? These are the questions often asked by many clients. Clearly paid market research is imperative in some situations; if it were not, it would not exist and thrive as a business around the world.

Following is a perfect example of why market research as well as the research methodology selected are critical to making commercially sound business decisions. AEC recently conducted quantitative online survey supported by qualitative focus group sessions for one of our clients. We gathered as much data as possible through existing information. The anecdotal evidence provided suggested customers were motivated by value and variety – no surprises there! Most of us are value driven – the bigger, the better, the cheaper. We formed some hypotheses based on the evidence gathered and tested these hypotheses via an online quantitative survey and qualitative focus group sessions to dive deeper and explore the multiple layers of consumer behaviour.

However, as the customers began to discuss their motivations, perceptions, needs, and desires during the focus group sessions, it quickly became evident that the tangible and economic benefits of the product were only the ‘icing on the cake’ whilst the real pillars of customer motivation, satisfaction and loyalty were tied to the emotional benefits. What our client was offering was more than just the tangibles of great value, product or variety, they were offering emotional connection, bonding, self-identity and were serving a purpose in life.

Our key recommendations based on strategic insights centred around communicating the emotional benefits supported by the tangible and economic benefits of the product. Without this research, the client may have developed strategies and marketing initiatives targeting customers’ needs of the tangibles and missing the core driver – the emotional benefits.

It is equally important to highlight value of correct market research methodology. Is this case, the quantitative online survey (as a standalone method) may not have captured the key driving factor behind customer motivations, satisfaction and loyalty.

In order to make informed decisions about the majority of your business operations or strategy, take the time and make the investment required to validate the evidence, the ideas and information with your current and prospective customer base – understand what your customers want today and know where they are heading in the future. Have up-to-date evidence-based information about your evolving customer base and their habits so you have your finger on the pulse today and are ahead of the game for tomorrow.

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