Using Market Research to Inform Strategic Decision Making

June 5, 2018

At Alchemer, we often discuss technical market research best practices that enable our audience to get the most insight possible out of their research data. However, every once in a while it’s important to take a step back and address things from a higher-level perspective. 

In this post, we will discuss the overall impact that market research can have on strategic decision making in today’s business landscape, and why market research is absolutely critical to business success. 

Market Research is Critical to Business Success

Due to the rate of progression that we are experiencing with technology in modern times, business landscapes and markets are rapidly changing at all times.

This means that decisions and strategies that were implemented in the past — and have proven to be successful for business growth — must be consistently re-evaluated to determine if there is a newer, better, or more effective strategy that can be implemented today. 

This is where market research can be leveraged to evaluate strategies, and to make smarter business decisions. 

Data resulting from market research should drive strategic decision-making processes across the organization.

By proactively performing market research on a routine basis, various teams and organizational leaders across departments will have access to data they can leverage when making a final decision. 

Imagine a CEO that is considering making an acquisition of a separate company in order to enter a new market. This CEO would certainly want to do their due diligence by performing market research that will inform him or her of the current conditions of the target market. 

Another great example of when market research is imperative to business success is when launching a new product. 

Product developers must examine market research data thoroughly to ensure that the investments required to develop and promote a new product are worth it. As markets continuously shift and evolve, these product developers must constantly examine trends to determine how they can best impact the market. 

Market research can also benefit an organization internally.. 

For example, by digging into market research data, a marketing team can develop specific and unique buyer personas, off of which the business’ marketing strategy can be based. 

Performing market research to understand the archetypal personas that typically purchase a product then allows companies to market directly to their true audience, which enhances the efficacy of their promotional communications.

Using Market Research to Avoid Personal Biases

The examples above of how market research can benefit a business by allowing them to make more strategically informed decisions all have one thing in common: They leverage market research data as their strategic compass in the marketplace and to avoid personal biases.

Whether it’s a CEO considering an acquisition of a competitor, a marketing leader building out buyer personas, or a product developer looking for their next best product, personal biases always play a factor in decision making.

An aggressive and revenge-driven CEO could have the dream of acquiring a particular competitor after the competitor’s leadership team slandered him or her in an interview. While this is an extreme example, it highlights how personally motivating biases can cloud effective judgement during decision making. 

If a product developer has been nurturing and growing the idea for a new product, they might grow personally attached to their own idea. Even if there is not a true need or desire for the new product in the market, the product developer may push to have the product launched just because they want to see the project that they have invested so much in finally come to fruition. 

These are cases in which objective market research data can either qualify or disqualify particular insights, goals, or motivations that people might personally maintain. 

Personal biases and motivations should always be considered as part of the overall decision making process. While people will always get their emotions involved in decision making, and that is not always a bad thing, it is absolutely imperative to perform thorough market research so that the resulting data can either support your idea, or suggest that you find another strategical avenue to venture down. 

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