6 Market Research activities that will define your 2017 Strategy

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6 Market Research activities to define our 2017 strategy

This week Marks and Spencer’s announced a down turn with pre-tax profit dropping  88% to £25.1m, from £216m in the same period a year ago. In response to this they have made a fast and furious safe-keeping decision to close 30 stores and open 120 Simply Food stores.

Steve Rowe M&S CEO

The retailer’s new chief executive, Steve Rowe, said more than 100 UK stores were in the firing line as part of a wider shakeup designed to end a long-running slump in clothing sales and devote more space to its more successful food business. He outlined plans to open 200 new Simply Food outlets.

Source Guardian Online https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/nov/08/m-and-s-marks-spencer-close-80-stores-major-overhaul

Why Market Research is key during uncertain times

Because financials and statistics aside, M&S will have carried out market research to really understand what their customers think and feel. They have made huge executive decisions ensuring they bring back up their profits long term in uncertain times.

Luke Quilter

Luke Quilter Sleeping Giant Media

In September I attended one of Sleeping Giant’s Talks (if you haven’t attended one yet then you MUST give it a go) at Westminster “Digital Marketing Post-Brexit, How to thrive in a Changing World.” This talk was hosted only 3 months post-referendum and Luke Quilter from Sleeping Giant said “this is the hardest talk I’ve had to host and deliver” as it was so soon and we’d hoped things would be clearer.

However, amongst many useful snippets, an important lesson I did take away with me that day was that during these uncertain times we MUST really understand our strengths and weaknesses and equally important we need to know what our customers feel about our brand and service or product. This can be done through market research, in response to conclusive insights, we should REFINE and refine again and be bold with our tweaks and adjustments in terms of our marketing and business strategies.

How can you shape your business offering through Market Research?

Inspired by these events I have created some quick, easy, useful and actionable top Market Research activities that will help you explore and thus providing you with conclusions and insights to your business offering. Findings that will equip you with the safe knowledge that you really understand your customers and you are offering exactly what they love about your company.

6 Market Research activities to define our 2017 strategy

Qualitative Market Research

  1. 1 to 1 Interviews – when was the last time you actually spoke or listened to your customers directly?
    1. Hold your interviews somewhere quiet, maybe record your interviewee (with permission) so you have a record of what was said and how it was said.
    2. Try to structure your interviews around 5 key points i.e. your customer service, product/ service, your website performance, communications and how you can improve.
  2. Focus Groups – a great way to get a snapshot of opinions
    1. Hold the focus group somewhere off site or on neutral territory
    2. Groups of 5-10 are ideal
    3. This needs be a very controlled environment, stick to your plan of what you want to achieve and remain on time – you might need one or two people to assist you
    4. Have something physical for the group to look at, consider and feedback on e.g. examples of your product or marketing materials, proposed branding or new packaging, your website so they can look and feedback instantly and honestly
  3. Product Testing – putting your products directly in the hands of key customers will give your invaluable insights
    1. Again, this is best done in small groups so you can gain and record feedback
    2. Give them products you have created, future designs and competitors – giving you a good cross range of feedback

Quantitative Market Research

  1. Online Questionnaire – giving you a huge amount of valuable data for FREE
    1. Use online tools such as Survey Monkey, you can create a questionnaire of up to 10 questions, you can vary your question type from multiple answers to Dropdowns and add a comments box
    2. Social Media have their own platforms, again these are FREE! Twitter Polls, Facebook Polls and why not put some questions out to your business peers through Linkedin Direct Messaging?
  2. Phone interviews – taking the time to call your customers and get their honest direct feedback will provide fantastic soundbites about your customer service
    1. Simply create a questionnaire (why not base it on your online questionnaire)
    2. Phone interviews give you a chance to take down more than quantitative measures it’s also an opportunity to delve a little deeper and get to know a little anecdotal feedback which you can record
  3. Analytics – Your website and social media provide vital analytics resources for free!
    1. Google Analytics
    2. Facebook
    3. Twitter
    4. Linkedin
    5. And many more of your social media including scheduling services like Hootsuite who send you analytics as part of their service

By employing a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods, you will gain a broader picture and you will gain anecdotal stories giving a more human element to your analytics. Using M&S as a leading example, whose Chief Executive Steve Rowe said this is the “beginning of the beginning”, he understands he has to make dramatic change to see through tougher times ahead.

Always think – acquisition, conversions and retention and apply your research insights to each aspect of your customer journey!

Have you already sought customer knowledge in the face of Brexit? If so which market research methods did you carry out?  I hope you find this useful and perhaps try just some of these research methods that will seriously equip with you REAL outcomes and help your 2017 strategy.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to make comments in the comments box or email me if you have enquiries het@rackham.co.uk  If you’d like to learn more about our new Market Research brand OH! Market Research please click here.



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