Vulnerability is a characteristic even the biggest and brightest must contend with. In literature, it’s the chink in the armor, Achilles’ heel, Samson’s hair, Smaug’s underbelly, the tragic flaw, the dreaded weak spot. In short, vulnerability is a problem. And problems always require solutions.
In the modern business world, companies seek to protect themselves from all manner of vulnerabilities that might undermine and weaken them. Tech departments are trained to stave off cyber threats. Customer service aims to pacify unhappy customers and avoid negative reviews. And marketing departments work to properly identify the various business problems and needs that must be solved or met.
While tech and customer service have their own methods for problem solving, marketing employees and others that must know how to identify business problems can rely on a trusted solution: market research. Problem-identification research and problem-solving research are the two basic categories that can help marketing managers recognize and solve important concerns.
These duel market research categories constitute a “what” and “how” approach to determining the best strategies to handle business problems. As the name implies, problem-identification research helps you pinpoint what types of problems you potentially have. Problem-solving research helps identify ways to solve those problems through marketing mix and segmentation. Using research for problem identification and problem solving is essential when you want to make your company the best in its market. Classifying your problem should always come before attempting to solve them. Otherwise, you might be spending money to solve the wrong problem.
Ultimately, market research offers many problem identification and solving methods depending on what would most benefit your company. To better illustrate the impact of problem-identification and problem-solving research, Packaged Facts offers some examples below.
Examples of Problem-Identification Research
Here are some factors your marketing department might discover by conducting problem-identification research:
- Knowing the Characteristics of Your Target Market(s): Market research sheds lights on the intricacies of essential consumer demographics. Not just the widely prevailing similarities that define specific consumer cohorts, but also the equally important differences. It is after all essential to consider all aspects that drive various consumers to purchase from your company. Customers in different geographic regions are likely to exhibit different purchase patterns and behaviors. Understanding the differences between subcultures and then subsequently meeting those needs will help your business marketing strategies succeed.
- Gauging Customer Perceptions of Your Brand Image: Companies can ill afford to remain ignorant of how customers view them. Therefore, it’s essential to research your consumers’ current perceptions and what they want or expect from your company. Awareness of customer perceptions breeds opportunities to determine which strategies are best fit to positively influence brand image going forward.
- Pinpointing Your Market Share: Often as individuals we learn a lot about ourselves based on how we stack up against our peers. Through the aid of market research, this is true also in the corporate world by understanding how the percent of your total product sales compare to your competitors. Market share provides companies not only with an estimate of the amount of market they hold, but by comparison also reveals some of your competitors’ capabilities and strengths which then can allow you to develop an appropriate strategy.
- Estimating Your Products’ Potential Profit: Research can reveal how consumers may react to advertising or pricing changes in your company’s products before action is actually initiated. This allows companies to be better prepared and market to their consumers more accurately.
Examples of Problem-Solving Research
Once the problem has been identified, the next step is to research how to solve it. Here are some research options that can help solve potential problems or capitalize on opportunities identified by your company:
- Market Segmentation to Group Customers by Similar Backgrounds or Purchase Patterns: Research can help you segment your market and design advertisements to attract those specific groups of customers. This involves collecting both qualitative and quantitative data to accurately understand your market segments.
- Promotional Research to Evaluate Effectiveness of Advertising Strategies: While it’s essential to maximize profits, it’s also wise not to waste money especially when it’s preventable through a little time and research. If your company is using advertisements, there are factors you need to consider and monitor. Unless you are optimizing your advertising budget to ensure your ads are retaining and gaining customers effectively, you could easily be overspending in the wrong areas.
- Distribution Research to Get Products to the Right Retailers: This type of research helps determine where a company’s product should be sold and how to get product there. It’s an important step in planning the best way to move your product from the manufacturer to the retail shelf. Further, it helps not only decide which retailers to work with, but also aids in determining where your inventory will be held.
- Pricing Research to Determine Ideal Product Prices: One of the most important marketing steps is setting the price for your product. It’s a delicate balance to keep the customer in mind while also remaining true to your company’s main goal to maximize profits. Will you gain customers by lowering prices? Would it be better to maximize profit through price increases? How sensitive are your customers to even slight price increases? These are just some of the questions that must be considered, which is why researching customers’ reactions to price sensitivity is essential.
- Product Research to Test New/Revised Products or to Complete Test Marketing: To effectively compete in the market, you should consider researching secondary data or observing how your products will be used. Testing different components is a way to identify new products or discover opportunities to modify existing products. Updating a product to compete with newer products is just one example of this.
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