by Sid Jaffe, SJ&A
One of the most neglected but vital ingredients to business development is market research. It helps to: identify customer needs and opportunities, guide customer communication, provide data on your competitors, identify technical trends, and reveal intelligence on pricing and acquisition strategies. As important as these things are, market research is often pushed to the side when marketing, preparing a proposal, or doing your corporate strategic planning.
Who should be gathering information? Everyone! All staff can contribute to strategic market research, as well as tactical market research for a specific opportunity. This includes:
- Corporate decision makers for trends and company focus
- Project staff for new solutions, opportunities, and customer satisfaction– they are your front line for vital data!
- Business Development for opportunities, intelligence, and competition profiling
- Contracts and Pricing Staff for pricing intelligence
- Capture Teams and Proposal Staff for solutions development, trends, and state-of-the-industry
- Human Resources for continuous recruiting of targeted, timely talent
- Other staff to deliver the best and most cost-effective services.
Where can this information be gleaned? Everywhere! This includes formal on-line business databases, social media, and going to conferences and trade shows. There are contacts in your address book right now that can yield important information. All staff should be alert to it!
Effective market research requires planning, discipline, and a platform or venue to share data. In most occupations, they say “the job isn’t done ‘til the paperwork’s complete!” Well, in market research, that axiom is especially true. Research needs to be documented—and most important, the information needs to be at-the-ready for decision makers.
Keep your staff continuously engaged in market research—use it as a way of operating. Develop a Market Research Plan, make it a component at staff meetings, provide a secure bulletin board to exchange information, develop a repository on a portal, and provide for it in project reporting.
Market research is a team sport. Whatever the role, know: what your customer’s interests and preferences are, what solutions work best in the industry, what the trends are, and what strategies your competitors have implemented. Plan for it.
If you would like to discuss ways in which we can support your market research needs, contact Steve Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 703-989-2799.