MythTrouncers Episode 3: Research is only useful for making tactical decisions.
3/16/12 / Holly Russo
Myth: Research is only appropriate and useful for testing products or campaigns so that we can make good tactical decisions.
If you were to make this comment in front of our company’s principals, they’d likely collide with one another in a mad dash to reach their soapbox – and rightfully so. While we do carry out research to guide clients’ very important tactical decisions, one of the most powerful uses of research is in its ability to help guide strategy. You know, the big-picture stuff that makes some of us shudder as others among us delight in its breadth.
It isn’t unusual for a market researcher to have examples aplenty of clients who called hoping to have research results by tomorrow – or yesterday – to make a decision about a product or a campaign.
That’s fair enough. The business world doesn’t have life without tactical decisions, and people who are expert at thinking tactically. They’re the people our research team might work with to use focus groups to test ad concepts, for example, or gather opinions via an issue-specific survey. These thinkers help make decisions on the important details that can make or break a product, campaign, or idea.
But there’s also thinking that takes place on a different, strategic scale, and this thinking needs to be informed, too. It’s this thinking that provides a base-camp for those tactical decisions. This is the kind of work for which we might be more likely to conduct research in order to learn in which direction to steer an entire organization. Maybe it’s reaching out internally to staff and board members, in addition to a particular customer or membership group, in order to make vital decisions related to the future purpose or focus of an organization. Perhaps it’s stepping out to the macro level and gathering industry-level information – research that provides a pictures of the overall environment in which you’re operating. All of these can help you learn who you are – organizationally speaking – and who you need to be.
So don’t forget about the use of marketing research in making these larger-scale decisions about how to proceed – to help you steer your proverbial ship. It helps staff and customers alike feel included and on-board with any changes that might be coming…and it helps you tap in to all of the brain power and important opinions that the stakeholders of your organization have tucked away, just waiting for you to ask.*
<Blogger steps down from her own soapbox>
I’m declaring this myth TROUNCED! Research has its place in all dimensions of decision-making.
*Want to learn more about moving beyond tactics and into the realm of strategy? We welcome you to visit our website and enlighten yourself to Corona’s Synergistic Business Model as a framework for unlocking potential you may never recognized. Learn more about our crusade to shed light on strategic marketing efforts too, to make informed, proactive decisions related to your products, services, and campaigns.