3 Mistakes That Needlessly Waste Your Market Research Budget

Dana Youngren
Dana Youngren
3 mins
team meeting to discuss market research budget

Understanding your target market is critical to success, but conducting the research needed to gain that understanding isn’t exactly cheap.

And let’s face it—most marketing teams don’t have the budget to spend money frivolously. After all, they’re likely already investing in top-notch talent, cutting edge technology, digital advertising, and more.

But as Joy Levin, President of market research consulting firm Allium Research and Analytics, said, “Every organization needs to conduct research, and small budgets are no excuse for lack of a research plan.”

The key is making sure your investment isn’t wasted.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the three most common marketing research mistakes that waste money and provided tips to help you avoid them.

Duplicating Research

This one’s a killer. If you’re duplicating research, you’re paying double to learn the same information twice.

That’s certainly not the way to use your market research budget effectively.

The most common cause of this mistake is simple: lack of communication.

Perhaps someone from your product marketing team wanted to better understand what circumstances drive your target market to seek the kind of offering you provide. When they couldn’t quickly find the answers they needed internally, they started a market research initiative to obtain them.

On the surface, that seems like the right call.

But what they didn’t know is your demand generation team commissioned that same research two quarters ago. Unfortunately, the knowledge they gained now resides in multiple Powerpoint and Excel files, and only one or two people—if any—know where to find it.

Conducting Research That Doesn’t Support Your Strategic Goals

Your strategic marketing goals should form the basis of every action your team takes, and research is no exception. You need to have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish and how your market research will tie back to that goal.

For example:

  • Are you learning about buyer personas so you can tailor your strategy to inform product development, reach the right audience, and drive more sales?
  • Are you identifying common customer pain points so that you can reduce friction and improve the overall customer experience?
  • Are you finding out which channels your audience spends time engaging with so you can determine where you’ll get the best ROI from your advertising spend?

Whatever the case, you need to ensure your market research is geared toward a specific goal that supports your overall strategic priorities—and that you can clearly demonstrate to your stakeholders how your research supports that goal so that it can be used to inform key business decisions.

Otherwise, you’re wasting your time and your budget.

Not Sharing Results

If you’re not sharing the results of your market research with your entire organization, you’re limiting its impact. As stated in an article on Harvard Business Review, “Using data costs money. To move to the higher value uses and maintain a competitive edge, we need to lessen the impact of data silos on our businesses.”

And sharing the results of your market research isn’t even a selfless endeavor.

Think about it:

  • Your product team can use the knowledge gained from market research to develop more enticing offerings, making it easier for your marketing team to generate leads.
  • Your sales team can use the insights to better target and convert prospects
  • And your customer experience teams can more effectively act on the insights you generate, leading to more happy customers who are willing to sing your praises in case studies and testimonials.

Bottom line: sharing your market research with the rest of your organization benefits everyone—including you.

Use Your Market Research Budget Wisely

To avoid the mistakes listed above, you need to create a culture of knowledge sharing at your company.

Why?

  • When your team can easily find the results of your previous market research projects, they’re much less likely to think those results don’t exist and duplicate existing efforts.
  • When you clearly define and properly distribute your strategic goals, everyone can easily reference them when completing important tasks like market research.
  • And when you provide your entire organization with easy access to the results of your market research, you support their success and your own.

To create a culture of knowledge sharing, consider investing in technology that will enable you to make your research searchable and accessible across your organization. The right knowledge sharing platform will provide a central location for members of your company to store, distribute, and search for key insights.

Then, it’ll be easier than ever for your team and your company as a whole to get the most out of your market research investment.

March 26, 2019

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