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Market research critical for small and medium size firms
By David Kay
Market research is obligatory
for large companies. Marketing and communications, product development
and customer relations are guided by market research input from
customers and prospects. Customer needs, trends, possible problems
are identified and dealt with early. But research is often costly.
Here are three areas where market
research can benefit small and
medium companies, without breaking the bank.
Communications: Most flyers,
brochures, newsletters, bill
inserts go unread, straight into
the round file. Research that is as simple as two focus groups
customers and prospects can help
you improve communications materials.
Communications points can be identified so they can be emphasized
more strongly in the future.
Redundant, unclear, irrelevant
or low priority information can be
Awareness of the scope of your
products and services: Many companies
assume their customers and prospects
understand the full scope and
quality of their products and services. And they assume
that if a customer trusts them
to supply one product or service,
they will trust them to supply other products
and services. Often this is not
so. One of Research Dimensions’ financial
services clients believed its customers saw them as experts in a
wide range of areas. A client survey found that they were mistaken.
Most of their customers saw them as a one-service supplier. Their
quarterly newsletter failed to convey the range and quality of their
services. New strategies were developed to help them build awareness
and trust as providers in services outside their one-service image.
Satisfaction: A client survey
can identify your company’s areas of strength, to help guide
promotions. And it can also
identify areas of dissatisfaction, before the customer goes elsewhere.
Better information from market
research helps companies make
smarter decisions and find inspired
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