Let's be honest: Research sucks! It is boring, time-consuming and often I want to stab myself in the eyeballs at the end of the day because I'm so sick of reading, analyzing and cursing at the work of experts, written well before my time. Of course, some scholars reading this want to stab me in the eyeballs for making such claims because they find it stimulating, amusing, fun and slightly addictive. Here is the thing though; it doesn’t matter what buttons research is pushing for you - It is the cornerstone of every business' success and arguably the most critical component when starting a business.
Most experts, before AND after my time, will agree that market research is essential for the survival and growth of any business. In-depth and carefully executed research will not only kick ass in the long run but keep your brand on the rise while organizations that fail to plan slip into no man's land. Far too many companies go out into this big beautiful world of ours with all the trumpery and all the trickery but without a proper plan and all too often fail miserably as a result.
Just like the great Benjamin Franklin once said, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!"
For most marketers, market research is the process of planning, collecting and gathering information to help you to identify the best way to position your business relative to your competition. I totally stole that from someone else to sound super duper smart and complex. In order words; think of market research, the same way you’d think of going on a few dates with someone. Dating is all about getting to know the person in front of you. Finding out the strengths and weaknesses of a person, the In’s & Out’s, the good and bad, the strange and messed up shit, etc. Essentially you are trying to find out if the person you spend time with is a good match and compatible with you - Potentially for a lifetime! Market research ain't that different. You are trying to understand the environment your business is dealing with. Internal and external factors that could affect your business positively or in a negative way. You are also trying to find your "match," people, interest groups, etc. that are most compatible with your business and, therefore, add to your desired audience.
Let’s break it down. Research provides you and your business with necessary and "real life" evidence about the market your business operates in. Market research touches on crucial factors such as your target market, the product offered, the distribution used, promotional activities, competition and pricing strategy among many other factors that could potentially determine the success or "RIP" of your business.
Carefully executed research provides you and your potential stakeholders with a picture of what is currently happening (or likely to occur), and, when done right, offers alternative solutions to address, improve or avoid potential issues.