Don’t get me wrong, I love doing market research and think it gives organizations several advantages. However, over the last seven years, I have seen three specific situations in which market research should not be done.
1. You are not going to use it.
This is a common scenario that is my biggest pet peeve. The amount of time, money, and other resources that go into market research is just too valuable to waste given other demands on the budget. There needs to be a commitment through all levels of the organization but especially from the top to use the results. In addition, the budget to implement the research findings needs to be included. If the commitment or budget to use the results in some way are not there, don’t do the research! At Saqui Research, we talk about how the research results could be used from the very beginning. We collaborate with our clients to clearly define the research objectives upfront. and also contract with our clients for an accountability phase where we check in on the post-research action items we agreed upon.
THE QUESTION: What would using this research really look like and are we willing to do it?
2. You already know or have the answer.
Okay, this reason seems like an obvious one, so let me explain. Resources should not be invested in research when someone has already made a decision. If the CEO has already made a decision to go or not go into a specific market, then is additional information going to change the CEO’s mind? Also, do you have the information you need somewhere in your organization? Sometimes the information an organization wants is already there. It may be in different departments, but it’s there. It may be in silos, which is a huge pain by the way, but it’s there.
THE QUESTION: Has the decision about this situation already been made? Do we already have this information somewhere in our own backyard?
3. You are not willing to invest the money to make it quality research.
I realize that time, money and other resources are always limited in any organization. However, if the quality of the market research is severely compromised by the lack of budget, it probably isn’t worth doing. I’ve seen several non-profit and business research projects that were done on a no or low budget and the results simply weren’t usable. Quality market research, like anything else does cost money, but the value attained will be worth the investment. I love to frame the question like this “What is the cost of not knowing?” Market research should lower risk.
THE QUESTION: Are we willing to make the investment to do the research correctly? Does the value of the research exceed the cost of the gathering the information?