Processes automation, digital marketing, PR – there are so many solutions promising to take your business results to the brand new lever. Of course, all these are good; however, in the quest for a better technological or marketing solution, it is important to remember that some strategies to sustainable growth are as simple as listening to what your customers need and want. This is what market research is responsible for.
Find out more about why mature brands should use market research to strengthen their position and grow revenues and see the examples of top brands that leveraged market research to propel business results.
The Importance of Market Research
Business growth largely relies on the understanding of who your target customers are and what are their needs, preferences, and perceptions of your product. Using enterprise market research tools, you can run various types of survey and fieldwork research to answer all of these questions and align your business strategies accordingly.
Specifically, market research helps to:
Market research helps to see how you can improve the product or what upsell/cross-sell opportunities you can use to target a larger audience and grow revenues. It helps to identify concerns about your product and gaps in your customer service, addressing which will have an immediate result on the bottom line of the company.
Lower business risks.
Quality market research help to predict the acceptance of the product, identify concerns people hold towards your product, strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, and overall market trends. Acting upon research safeguards business from wrong decisions and help to invest time and effort in high-return areas.
Make marketing more effective.
Research helps to identify marketing platforms your target audience prefers and the messages they are most receptive to. It helps to connect with customers on the emotional level and make them loyal to your brand.
Although much of the market research details are kept behind the closed door, there are some excellent cases where top brands leveraged market research to grow their business. Starbucks, McDonald’s and the Lego Group are among them.
Market Research Propels the Sucess of Starbucks
Starbucks uses various forms of market research that include yet are not limited to social media listening, gathering consumer insights, and in-store product testing. In 2008, when the company envisioned brand transformation, the company leveraged a My Starbucks Idea platform that became the source of valuable research data about the perception of the brand and improvement ideas.
One of the ideas submitted to My Starbucks Idea platform was the introduction of soy milk to the menu. In 2014, the company decided to test using coconut milk in Cleveland, LA, stores, which produced good customer response. Thus, in 2015, Starbucks rolled out drinks with coconut milk all over the country and soon added other varieties such as almond and oat milk both in the US and European stores.
This helped Starbucks leverage a great opportunity sooner than other competitors as the trend indeed grew nationwide: as of 2017, the overall sales of milk alternatives in the United States grew 61% compared to the previous period.
McDonalds’s: Using Research to Tackle Adverse Perceptions
In 2015, McDonald’s executives rolled out market research to get insights into the reasons for continuously declining sales and the ways to reverse this trend. The main issue was the perception of McDonald’s as unhealthy food.
Based on market research, the company stopped selling unhealthy ingredients such as maltodextrin and phosphates and chicken products grown using human antibiotics. New healthy alternatives have been added to the menu including more salad choice and apple slices for a dessert. Such a response to the customer preferences helped the brand return the love of its customers and attract new clientele.
Lego: Tapping into Female Customers
For years, the tremendous success of Lego with boys could not be mimicked with the female audience. Young girls made only 10% of the company’s customers and remained a powerful potential for the company’s growth.
The adverse trend with girls has changed after the Lego group carried out four-year-long market research with a sample of 3500 girls. The research resulted in the introduction of new female heroes, Lego Friends among them, new bright colors, and scenes, which became a huge success. Eventually, the market of female construction toys tripled in just three years from $300 million in 2011 to $900 million in 2014.
Market research is not only for startups. Mature brands need it to tap into the overlooked opportunities and grow revenues. A winning strategy for any business is to stay responsive to the market and draw strategies basing on valid research methods and tools and actionable insights about the market, not just assumptions and guesses.