All businesses are faced with major decisions at some point or another. These may be strategic decisions around issues relating to business expansion, new product development, route-to-market, supplier selection and capital investments – all of which require a combination of research, analysis and strategy formulation.
Finding high quality information, especially in unfamiliar territories or markets can be both challenging and time-consuming. Market Analysis Consultants, cbg have identified three cost effective and easy-to-use sources that, if combined effectively, can provide any small business with the market intelligence that underpins effective decision-making.
Increasingly, companies are blending together internal data sources to reveal a more strategically useful picture. For example, a company looking to decide which customers to target could use:
Sales data: Which customer types have seen the biggest sales increases recently? Which have had the greatest propensity to churn?
Customer satisfaction data: Which customer types are we able to ‘delight’? Who do we struggle to please?
Cost data: How much does it cost to deliver products commonly bought by different customer types?
Whilst past activity and performance may not necessarily be a predictor of future results, analysing it can allow managers to improve their decisions based on quantitative data that may uncover new opportunities.
Consumer Research allows businesses to find the right solutions based on powerful evidence referenced back to market demand. It is especially useful to support the following aspects of decision-making:
Needs assessment: Is there a need for what we’re considering doing or offering?
Credibility assessment: Is our brand credible enough to support our plans?
Decision testing: What do customers think of what we’re planning to do?
All customer research should have its own defined objective that relates back to the marketing decision in order for it to offer any useful support in the decision making process.
A deep understanding of the competition is essential for every business. They face the same challenges as you and are likely to be taking similar decisions too. It is especially useful to get insight on:
Best practice identification: Has a competitor made a similar decision before, which can be learned from?
Price / spend setting: How much do competitors charge or pay for things you’re considering doing?
There are a range of potential resources available in the public domain to help you get insight on your competitors, including Companies House, press archives, social networks and blogs. And combining this with common competitor analysis frameworks such as SWOT and Porters Five Forces will relate this information back to the specific management decision being made.
Most companies use at least one of the information sources outlined above, but rarely do they combine them all together in an effective, robust, action-orientated and methodical way. This will allow timely, well-considered and fully corroborated decisions to be made that will drive your business forward.