At Tipping Point, we are often asked by clients why they should invest in Qualitative Research. Commonly, we hear that the CEO or CMO has stated that they “know more about their customers than anyone else” and “research will just slow down the process.” Here are 4 signs that your organization should allocate the time, and the budget, to conducting research.
- Sales or leads are flat, or declining.
There's a good chance that something has changed with your ideal customer. It could be that their decision making process has changed, your message is no longer resonating with them, or you’re out of touch with the relative value they’ve placed on the business solution you are providing. The CEO or CMO may have an out-of-date view of who your NEW customers are.
By conducting research with a cross-sampling of customers in age segments, you will:
- better understand their problems and concerns,
- learn where they turn to for information,
- who they trust, and
- how they make decisions.
These results will inform the development of “personas” so the marketing team can develop stronger content and more effective strategies for sales.
- Sponsorship sales and renewals are becoming increasingly difficult to close.
Your sponsors love the team (or the product), but they are afraid to tell you how unhappy they are with their salesman…or the program they purchased…or the ROI…the list goes on. How can you get to the heart of the matter when emotions often come into play with large, highly-charged purchases?
Hiring an experienced, neutral party to conduct confidential one-on-one interviews with key decision makers can put sponsors at ease and open the door for a productive conversation. Many clients are just not comfortable telling their partners that their “baby is ugly.” And on the flip side, delivering those messages back to the host party requires a strategic partner who is committed to using the insights for constructive, business development outcomes.
- A competitor is entering the market.
It is highly likely the competitor already knows your weak spots, your customer base/demographics, and areas of opportunity because they’ve done their research and are ready to steal market share from you.
A common mistake is that the CEO or CMO will resign themselves to the inevitable and ignore the need to conduct research on the new competitor and with current clients. Investing in research to understand the current level of client satisfaction and areas of improvement can protect your market position. After all, you are the established brand. There is usually more inherent trust with the tried and true, rather than the new and flashy. Why not take the opportunity to sharpen your saw and make it really hard for the new guy to succeed?
- Your new ad campaign hasn’t generated a “lift” in awareness or the buzz you had hoped.
Bummer. Creative and message testing should have been done with members of your personas on the upfront, before the expense of producing ads. Or, maybe the research was indeed conducted on the upfront and it’s still not showing signs of promise.
Don’t panic. A qualitative research firm can help determine if it’s the message or the method in how the campaign is being delivered to your audience. Maybe it’s the path to purchase that needs to be explored and understood from the customers’ vantage point. One thing is for sure, times have changed and typical advertising models need to be updated to reflect the new consumer.