Using research as a navigational tool
As someone who enjoys a bit of hiking, this image resonates with me. How often are we faced with a choice of paths to take and, as much as you think you know where you are going, the trip can still be full of surprising twists and turns, some harder to navigate than others.
These challenges also present themselves when making strategic business decisions and here too, knowing more about the terrain ahead can influence not only which road you choose, but also how well prepared you are to follow it.
A recent example springs to mind here, which involved working alongside the management team at a B2B service provider operating within the health sector. Their current business plan had highlighted a need to cross-check assumptions on their marketplace, including estimated size and their respective position within that market. As happens in many companies, a wealth of internal knowledge existed, but required challenging with a fresh external perspective. An opportunity to re-check their bearings, in order to direct future activity.
This is what was delivered to inform the route map in the first stage:
- A segmentation of key audiences: quantifying market potential with available data.
- An overview of key competitors: a product matrix with SWOT analysis, turnover performance & notable activity.
- An holistic analysis of market trends: signposting to & interpreting published reports, media articles, exhibitions & thought pieces in identified countries.
This information requires time to review, analyse & interpret, to understand the bigger picture and many companies lack a dedicated in-house resource to undertake the work. However, it can yield an incredible degree of insight, which outlines the business topography, helping to set strategic decisions in context.
Of course, the exercise may also highlight a need to pose specific questions to customers, suppliers & distributors, through primary research, such as in-depth interviews, surveys or focus groups. However, desk research is the starting point in understanding which routes are available, what may lie ahead and how a company can best equip itself for the journey.
If you would like to discuss how Freelance Marketing can help your business with this process, please contact us here.