3 Good Reasons to Have a Market Research Plan

One of our most popular posts of all time was “How to Write a Market Research Plan“, written about three years ago.  So we thought it might be a good idea to take a closer look at the topic of Market Research Plans and dig a little deeper so that you can put this strategy to work in your business.iStock_000005985927XSmall

De-mystifying the Market Research Plan

If you’re anything like me there is no more fearful a four letter word than “PLAN”.  Every time I see or hear that word, I get these visions of many, many pages that are painfully researched and written and never referenced.    But that is not the case at all — especially when it comes to the world of small business.

I’m a big advocate of the one-page plan.  It can even be on a napkin.  But the main idea behind putting one together is that you take the time to think things through — not in every detail, but enough so that you don’t spend hours thinking and re-thinking the same subject day in and day out.  AND the other huge benefit of thinking through a market research plan is that once you’ve planned it out — you can OUTSOURCE the details efficiently.  That, alone should be worth it.

Why you need a market research plan:

  1. The trends are now happening:   Back in 2010, I said that social media, time slicing and mobile devices were a trend you had to consider.  Today, these are real elements of where you audience spends their time.  For example, the average Facebook user spends 20 MINUTES on Facebook each day.  (this is actually down from 45 minutes a few years ago) but nonetheless, it’s a LIFETIME in web time where we measure time on site in seconds.Time slicing — is in the multi-tasking family.  People will naturally look for some task to insert when they have more than two minutes of downtime — it can be your survey.

    Mobile devices — this is HOW we interact while we are not at our computers — which is almost always.

    If you’re not planning your surveys around these realities, you are missing out on the very real way people spend their time.

  2. Eliminate overwhelm and confusion:  If you haven’t mapped out all the different ways that you can distribute your survey — then you are going to either get incomplete information or you will become overwhelmed and not have complete information to help you make your decision.
  3. Save time, money and aggravation:  The basics of using surveys to make decisions have not changed.  You will still need to do exploratory research — this is where your social media channels and group participation comes in.  You can save crazy amounts of time by writing down your most basic open ended questions like “What’s the benefit of asking your question on LinkedIn” and engaging with people around that idea to determine what to actually ask on your survey — or which multiple choice options to include.  Done the old way, you’ll either pull them out of your head and they will be wrong — or you’ll take two weeks to run open ended questions or you’ll run a focus group — all of these options are more projects that take time and cost money, while simply engaging with a few folks on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter will give you answers in minutes.  In other words, you will be working on tasks instead of projects and that is a good thing.

If there’s one thing I want you to get out of this short article — it’s the idea that plans don’t have to be tomes — they are nothing more than a place to put your thoughts and ideas and then turn those into action items that you can either do quickly or outsource to your team.

The ultimate result will be that you are moving forward faster and making better decisions.