At WaveLength Market Analytics, we suggest a some important guiding principles for technology market research and customer insights projects. Follow these principles and the best tech and telecom marketing and sales teams can find new success.
- Useful answers = Asking the right question – If research questions are not clearly defined, the answers will not be either. Figuring out the right questions is one of the biggest challenges of a market and customer insight project. Take the time to carefully consider exactly what the organization needs to know, how the information will be used, and the decisions that will be made with it. This step guides everything, so domain expertise is critical. It guides the data that is required, sample sizes, what analytical techniques get applied, and how results should be packaged and presented.
- Data ≠ Just surveys – For some research questions, the best answer may not be primary research. Surveys are now everywhere, making it increasingly difficult to collect quality data for appropriate applications of primary research. Before concluding primary research is required, investigate the availability of other data sources that could fulfill objectives. For example, is there a previous study that another group conducted where a second look at the data set might help? Is there a social media data source where text analytics can be applied? Has your organization analyzed internal sources, such as sales bookings data or marketing automation data? Can any of these sources be used in conjunction with primary research?
- Technology markets = Global markets – Technology markets are global, so if the project is product development-oriented, then include both mature national markets and developing markets. For primary research, local office reviews of localized versions are critical because vendors do not always get this step correct.
- Finding gold = Sifting through a lot of dirt – 80% of results uncovers the expected, so it’s the 20% that contains the gold, the unexpected information that changes the business. Exploratory analysis using any of the leading statistical applications, such as SAS, SPSS, or Sawtooth and should not be short cut. This step is both art and science, taking resourcefulness and persistence because determining the most appropriate clustering/market segmentation model also means uncovering the inappropriate ones.
- Details + Precision = Higher quality results – This should not need explanation, but here’s an example of how understanding details leads to a better outcome. A major technology company conducted its annual branding study and could not understand why sales are so high while brand recognition is so low in some national markets. Analysis of their target market size in these countries quickly yielded the reason; the sample required a number of completed surveys that the market size simply could not support. To get the required number of completes, the vendor included respondents that they should not have included. If the vendor looked at the market size, they’d have reduced the required number of completes to get quality respondents.
- Presentation = Action – Study presentations need to move beyond “graph and go” that simply report each survey question. Proper presentation explains the “why” that shapes the numbers and directs recommendations according each audience. Be creative. An infographic communicates more clearly to some, while a webinar may be a more effective way to reach others.