Have you noticed that even in a down economy, some businesses are still thriving? Do you think that they must know something that you don’t? Maybe they do. But it’s not what you think.
Today, the economy is different than it was two years ago, or even two months ago. The businesses that are continuing to thrive are doing so because they aren’t just guessing what their next move should be – they are using market research to make informed decisions.
It is easy to see market research as simply another expense during challenging economic times. This may have an immediate impact on your bottom line, but it isn’t the best for the organization in the long term.
The expense associated with market research needs to be weighed against both the short- and long-term benefits to be gained. Market research may actually be the missing ingredient needed to make your marketing plans work right now. According to a recent American Marketing Association survey, the following strategies may help businesses in a down economy:
1. Shape the message; don’t slash the price.
You might be tempted to cut prices to stimulate sales. Don’t. Instead, hone and refine your message, highlighting the value of your product or service. Use market research to better understand how your audience actually perceives the economic environment and align your message with your intended audience’s perceptions.
2. Focus on who NOT to target.
Some customers are more costly to serve than to lose, so spend your marketing dollars only targeting those customers with the highest return on investment. Market research can help you to better understand just who your ideal market is so that you can target them more closely. Save money by eliminating marketing to inappropriate segments.
3. Invest in Innovation.
Use market research to gain insights into your audience/market that will allow you to offer a product or service to your market that meets their needs in a way they can’t resist, even in a challenging economy. The economy will rebound; to ensure your company is positioned to compete, continue to invest in R&D now, using data and inspiration from your market research to help guide your direction.
4. Sustain the Brand.
Surviving this challenging economy is your Brand’s number one priority. Market research can help you to keep on top of the changing economic climate, allowing you to realign your marketing strategies to rapidly changing conditions.
Don’t allow your own assumptions and fears to drive the decisions in your business. Utilize the objective nature of market research to investigate and understand your market as it exists today. Then, implement changes based on what you discover. The result will be a business better capable of weathering this difficult economy, and poised to take advantage of the rebound when it happens.