THE IMPORTANCE OF MARKET RESEARCH
In the weekly assigned readings and the research that I did online, comes down to one basic point and that point is that market research is based off of sound measurement procedures, designed to capture the respective aspects of the customers’ minds and their behaviors. Decisions are not made from a gut feeling or personal beliefs of the market researchers, but of the collection and interpretation of consumer feedback. (Bont & Hamersveld, 2007, p. 103).
Companies that are world leaders are those that drive markets to new and unchartered territory by taking major risks in developing new customer behaviors, the companies are proactive in response. That is why McDonald’s and Proctor & Gamble are world industry leaders, they are driving the change in market structure and customer behaviors.
The challenge is obtaining the correct interpretation and information of that consumer data. Whether you are giant corporations like McDonalds or Proctor & Gamble that have their own marketing research departments and spend millions of dollars each year in conducting market research for all of their new or revised products or simply a locally owned business who only spends a few thousand dollars for their market research. That research must be accurate and correct for any products to succeed.
Another innovative way of obtaining the correct market research data is by using social games. Techniques are described for conducting market research via interactive game play mechanics. A game platform may allow a market research sponsor to create and publish online games which can identify latent consumer sentiment (and other market research data), while simultaneously providing an entertaining and engaging experience for the game participants. The games may be tailored such that elements of game play elicit responses from participants that reveal the desired market research data, e.g., consumer product awareness, consumer sentiment, brand preferences, loyalty, trends in awareness and sentiment, etc. (Brown, 2013).
Stage-gate is a company that provides products and services to support business leaders and their companies in their pursuit to improve product innovation performance. All companies use some type of 5-6 step market research process, each step is designed to collect specific information to help move the project to the next step or decision point. Stage-gate market research process follows:
Stage 0 – Idea Discovery: Pre-work designed to discover new opportunities and ideas.
Stage 1 – Scoping: Quick, cheap preliminary investigation of the project.
Stage 2 – Build the Business Case: Detailed primary investigation and research both market and technical leading to a Business case, also involves product definition and justification and proposed plan for development.
Stage 3 – Development: The detailed design and development of new product and design of operations and production process.
Stage 4 – Testing and Validation: Trails in the marketplace, lab to verify and validate proposed new product and brand/marketing plan.
Stage 5 – Launch: Commercialization of product, full scale operations, production and marketing and sales. (Cooper, 2009).
The first area of market research that interest me is the consumer products area. After my interview with Rich Schechter, who is the VP of Marketing and the Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Medtech College, and has over 25 years in the marketing of consumer products and educational companies. Rich provided great insight, into just how scientific market research as gotten. Rich stated that companies now use highly sensitive equipment that can measure the consumer’s eye movement when looking at different products on the shelves. From that eye measurement, companies can determine the prime areas to have their products placed on the shelf to help maximize sales.