When the economy shows signs of a downturn or recession, marketers are often tasked with finding ways to reduce their budgets. Since the benefits of market research tend to be more evident over a longer term and are not immediately noticeable in the same ways as other forms of Marketing, it can be tempting to hold off on planned investments in market research.
Here are a few things to consider about the value of research when times are tough:
Your target audience doesn’t disappear, they just change.
(Don’t you want to know how?)
If you are selling a product or service that your target audience really needs and values, then they aren’t going to stop buying it during leaner times, but the nature of how they engage with it might change. For example: cereal buyers won’t stop buying cereal when their budget is tighter, but they may look at different packaging sizes or generic brands as ways to make their dollar stretch further. Tracking the needs and behaviors of your customers only during the good times will give you an incomplete picture of your customers.
Downturns are an opportunity to focus.
Who/What is most important? The process of trying to figure out where to scale back can bring discipline to Marketing operations. Instead of firing in multiple directions and hoping to hit something, what if we focused on the products/brands/audiences/markets that are most important to the overall Marketing strategy and pursued those with every available resource? Market research supports strategic focus and helps to ensure that efforts made in these areas are set up to break through in a meaningful way.
What goes down usually comes back up...What will things look like after the Downturn?
Many forms of market research are an investment in trying to learn from the past and present to intelligently predict the future. If we stop investing in these exercises but our competitors continue to use market research to understand, track, and predict, who will be better prepared to hit the ground running and take advantage of the good times?
If you’re committed to staying focused on what matters, Advantage Research can help your organization make the most of available resources! Reach out to us to start the conversation.