Marketing campaigns typically involve three stages. First an advertiser or ad agency hires a marketing research professional to collect data about the target market: demographics, purchasing habits, wants and needs. Then the professional consultant analyzes the data, attempting to create a customer profile that can form the basis for a marketing plan. Finally, the advertiser or ad agency creates and implements a marketing plan using the research it has commissioned.
At least that’s the way things used to work. Today, digital tools available from companies like Mineful enable advertisers and ad agency to do their own research, in effect cutting out the middle man between themselves and the marketplace. The potential for cost savings with this new approach is obvious. Data collection and analysis can be expensive, and if marketers can handle these two stages of the process themselves they can save a considerable amount of money. But there are also other advantages of taking control of your market research.
Research on Your Own Terms
Although it can be worthwhile sometimes to get an outsider’s perspective on your market research efforts, hiring a consultant to collect and analyze market data has some definite drawbacks. After all, no one knows your business better than you.
Conducting your own research gives you complete control of the process. You can decide which potential customers to survey, how and when to contact them, and exactly what to ask. If the results of a survey don’t provide the kind of information you need, you can easily change the survey parameters and try again. Keeping the cost of surveys down also allows you to reach more people or conduct surveys more frequently.
Taking charge of the analysis stage of the research process gives you more control over how you use the data you collect. For example, if you decide to change your store hours or product offerings, you can use the results of your last survey to see how customers might respond to these changes. Since you have complete control of your data, you don’t need to go back to consultants when you want run a new analysis.
Powerful, Easy-to-Use Tools
One of the main reasons why more and more companies are taking over their own market research is that the digital tools available for this purpose have become increasingly easy to use. In the past you would probably have to hire a statistician to help you analyze survey data. But now you can conduct your own sophisticated analysis using tools that require no specialized knowledge. For example, Mineful’s software lets you use a tool called conjoint analysis to see how responses to various questions are related. This sort of analysis can help you understand such things as how customers make trade-offs between price and desirable product features.
Survey software also makes it easy to display the results of your analysis using widely understood formats such as pie charts and bar charts. Dashboards, a relatively feature, summarize data in a format that can be understood with just a glance. Dashboards make it easy to create different types of displays for different levels or functions in your organization.
With tools like these, it’s no wonder why a growing number businesses are taking control of their own market research.
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