How much of your research should be with customers?

Posted 9 May 2013 One of the questions I am frequently asked about insight communities is ‘Why are most of them composed solely of customers?’ ‘Surely’, some people ask, ‘we should be conducting market research with the whole market?’ My feeling is that this question fails to recognise how much market research has changed over time. Over the thirty-five years I have been in the research industry there have been quite a few changes, in terms of technology, organisation, methods etc. One of these changes has been a major shift from researching whole markets to focusing research on customers. If we look back at the 1970s and early 1980s, most market research was conducted with the whole market. But that approach reflected the times. There were fewer products, fewer brands, and fewer channels for advertising. Markets were less mature, brands were establishing themselves, they often had genuine product differences, and market researchers were like explorers, mapping an unfamiliar land. Moving to the later 1980s and the 1990s we see a shift to researching target groups and customers. Ad and brand tracking focused on target groups, customer satisfaction focused on customers. Concept and product testing, which had previously used whole market […]

Why do companies use market research?

Posted by Ray Poynter, 30 December 2012 I am currently working on a project for Vision Critical’s University, creating an introduction to market research, which should appear in a month or so. As part of that project, I’d like to share some of my thinking about why companies conduct market research, to see what my peers think, for better, worse, or different? The four main uses of market research, by commercial organisations, in descending order of importance (in terms of spend) are: Monitoring performance, for example ad tracking, brand awareness, viewing figures, usage, customer satisfaction, mystery and shopping. Finding things out, for example the size of a market, current usage patterns, and market opportunities. To test ideas and products, for example ad testing, pack testing, and pricing research. To help create new products, ideas, campaigns etc. Monitoring Monitoring studies tend to be ongoing (as opposed to ad hoc) and they tend to be quantitative. The 2012 ESOMAR Global Market Research report shows this is the largest category of research spend, accounting for between one-third and half of all research dollars (depending on which category you assign some of the items to). As well as large-scale quant trackers, other approaches include […]