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 among 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 removed.

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 solutions.