Every veteran entrepreneur knows that there’s a long journey from a business idea to its execution. Not even the brightest minds out there can ever predict all the potential roadblocks, the ever-changing market trends, and the hidden growth opportunities. However, the good news is that they don’t need to. Here is why you shouldn’t use Statista to make business decisions.
While we can debate the importance of gut feeling, the truth is that when it comes to business, having the right insights at your disposal is priceless. Let’s take a look at Starbucks, for example. The coffeehouse tycoon has taken an everyday beverage and turned it into an experience.
With tasty drinks, stylish interiors, and other attractive aspects like free wifi, it has built a buzzing community of over 24,000 stores.
But the company didn’t shoot in the dark: It managed to find out exactly what consumers wanted and how much they would be willing to pay for it. Would Starbucks be able to achieve such impressive growth by studying generic information on hospitality industry trends? Unlikely.
When you utilize advanced market research in your business strategy, you invariably outperform syndicated research platforms. Here’s why.
Businesses don’t exist in a vacuum.
While being data-driven has predominantly become a slogan that is pushed to sequestered sections of websites, the truth is that running a successful company requires having a long-term vision that enables leaders to make optimal decisions.
To power strategic business direction – whether that’s launching a new product or revamping a website – it’s key to generate strategic knowledge based on both internal business intelligence and actual market data.
The strategic knowledge should be provided by external sources – and there are various reasons for that.
Let’s say that a company like Unilever wants to conduct a study on the most preferred soap globally. Coming from an inherently subjective background, the company will struggle to secure a neutral perspective.
Not only will the results be distorted, but respondents might fail to give honest feedback, and there’s more pressure for further disbalances when presenting the results to the company’s structures.
If you were to call up a distributor of Procter and Gamble and Johnson & Johnson on behalf of Unilever to inquire about the data, it’s likely you wouldn’t get very far.
Independent market research can, on the other hand, work within the broader guidelines from ESOMAR – the world’s leading market research house.
These guidelines include an agreement that enables data collection in an integrated but anonymized manner, allowing market research agencies to display trends without giving out any sensitive information.
Anyone can pick up the phone and make a call, but the right agencies know how to judge who to call, who to avoid, how best to approach preferred leads, and how to carry out research in the most effective ways.
Agencies also have access to databases, expertise, and tools to carry out the analysis – something that many in-house teams lack.
However, one must be picky with external sources too. Syndicated market research is to insights as Wikipedia is to knowledge. It might be useful as a springboard to help you orient in a topic, but can’t really work to build strong foundations for an argument.
Even if the statistics are correct, there’s no actual validation of the data, meaning that it can’t be considered credible. The sources are not known, the names of the analysts aren’t disclosed, and there is no information about the methodology – which is fundamental to every research project.
There is, in fact, an even more important reason why syndicated research just won’t do anymore.
Our data capabilities have developed immensely over the last 15 years, and with that, the demands too. Two decades ago, generalized sources would provide valuable information, but companies now are looking toward more targeted insights that are specific to their unique business needs.
The parameters that market research has covered in the past are now freely available on the internet – so there’s a need to dive much deeper into the real business problem.
While the traditional model has businesses paying tens of thousands of dollars for hundreds of statistics, it’s obvious that we are moving toward a more hybrid and dynamic market research landscape.
The new market research landscape is one that still provides high-quality insights but often with a focus on your specific niche.
Rather than comprehensive reports with thousands of samples, businesses can get similar results by running a Twitter analysis for only a fragment of the price.
In fact, technology has enabled new sources of knowledge, further diversifying market research to be even more accurate and integrated: Apart from social media analysis, we’re seeing increased use of sentiment analysis, video analysis, consumer engagement monitoring, and much more.
Analysts are no longer focused on one domain, they are ramping up their experience in diverse, platform-oriented research fields. Platforms are brimming with experts that can help answer tough business questions by running a specific analysis at prices starting at just a few tens of dollars.
Back in the mid-2000s, it was common to spend up to 3 months waiting for an external research assignment – after all, you were probably going to get “something good”. Ten years later, the waiting time has reduced to a maximum of 20 days, but today, even that doesn’t suffice.
The need for real-time insights has proven particularly important during the current COVID-19 crisis. In fact, 49% of companies are now using data analytics more than before the pandemic, and both the quality and the delivery of data plays a key role.
No one will wait for a survey to be carried out in 60 countries – industries are dynamics and market conditions change constantly. However, syndicated research sites might fall behind due to its inability to deliver in short time-frames.
Staying up to date with the latest developments isn’t just a differentiator anymore — it’s a vital aspect of business decision-making.
Whether looking to launch a product, find when things will go back to the pre-COVID level, or understand the real impact of the crisis, the answers can’t be found with internal data only.
A bad decision is going to cost you much more than the cost of a market research report.
Image Credit: Ketut Subiyanto; Pexels
Sudip is the COO of Future Market Insights (FMI), an award-winning market research and consulting firm. A growth-oriented business professional with vast experience in market research and project management across verticals in APAC, EMEA, and Americas.
Sudip is a strong believer and proponent of innovation-based solutions, with an emphasis on creating customized solutions to meet varied client needs.