Many companies view market research as a periodic investment to be made only when entering a new stage or developing a new product. Thus, valuable information is often only provided to departments on a need-to-know basis. While it is important to make sure that the research being commissioned or purchased will address your immediate business intelligence needs, you should also consider what value there may be in the data for other departments within your company. When shared across your entire organization, market research can help diverse groups and departments share a common understanding of your customers, and keep those customer’s needs in focus.
Here are some benefits of using market research across your organization and a few ideas as to how to distill that information for each group:
Product or Purchasing – Your product and purchasing teams have tons of insight into what customers are buying, and what they’re no longer buying, but they often rely on anecdotes from the sales team to understand why customers are behaving as they are. Analysis of industry trends from market research may shed additional light on customer behavior and help your purchasing team get ahead of any shifts in the sea bed before they’re stuck with unsold product.
Marketing – Your marketing team should know all about the newest and most efficient ways to communicate with customers. But are they specifically targeting the customers that you want to reach? Checking their marketing strategy against the current market and customer trends is a great exercise to make sure they are staying laser-focused on the right customers.
Sales – Understanding your customers’ needs is a major ingredient for sales success. Your sales team is not likely to have the time to digest large amounts of information. Distilling down some of the insights into key takeaways and sharing those with the sales management team would be a great way to get the information filtered down to the boots on the ground. Your sales reps will then be able to apply that knowledge to their individual strategies and elevate their discussions with customers.
Business Development – Business development teams need great data to find and pursue the best opportunities for the company. Market research can help them develop new models, keep an eye on competitors, and determine whether industry trends are moving in expected ways.
Corporate Strategy or Steering Team - A Corporate Strategy team is tasked with maintaining a broad view of the organization to keep it headed in the right direction and ensure that critical decisions will provide an overall benefit for the company and its stakeholders, employees and customers. Market research is going to be a critical part of the long view they will need to take. Even if they have not specifically requested market information from your department, if you have it and you think it provides relevant or interesting data, don’t hesitate to share it up the chain. The more information the team has, the better decisions they can make for the organization.
When determining the size and scope of the market research you need, take a moment to consider whether other departments or groups within your organization may have a need for similar data. You may be able to get a bigger bang for your buck by purchasing reports or creating a custom study that will deliver actionable insights to multiple teams, which will reinforce your organization’s shared vision and help to keep everyone’s focus on your customers.