Fact-find your way to success

Fact-finding is also known as Intelligence Gathering and Market/Marketing Research.

Some companies regard research as an expense that should only be indulged when times are good or, even worse, use it in a tactical way to prove a point. What a waste! Take a look at the definition of research by the Chartered Institute of Marketing:

“The means used by those who provide goods and services to keep themselves in touch with the needs and wants of those who buy and use those goods and services… It is basically a fact finding activity and services management by decreasing the field of uncertainty within which often vital business decisions are taken.”

Let’s take some fairly obvious examples of when research is invaluable and where you may already be using it without giving it that label.

Launching a new product or service – No company should even consider launching a new product or service without first satisfying itself that it has:

  • Established that there is a need for it
  • Identified a market for it that can be reached cost effectively
  • Confirmed that it can provide it at a price that will make profit for the business and that the market will pay
  • Assessed that there’s room for another player in the market

Testing out a new or previously failed market – Research into the market can quietly test out the potential there before investing money and time in personnel and promotion to attempt to sell into it

Knowing the best source(s) to get customers – You should always establish where your customers come from and how they heard about you otherwise how do you know you’re spending your marketing and advertising budgets in the most cost effective, successful way?

Understanding who makes up the Decision Making Unit – for buying your product, service or solution, and the role of each individual involved. Many companies rely on just one contact at the companies they’re selling to when in fact there may well be an initiator, influencer, financial decision maker, user who each has a say and looks at it from his/her own perspective.

Knowing how to improve your offer – Talking with your existing customers enables you to ascertain the Decision Critical Factors that made them “come on board” with you, why they stay, whether they’d recommend your company and why. You can use positive response as testimonials and nip any potential problems in the bud.

You don’t have to be a big company with huge resources to harness the intelligence that market/marketing research can provide. The best thing about this type of research is that we all have the ability to do it ourselves. You can check What you need to know to help you.

Happy fact-finding!

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