Why Challenging Times Bring Changing Market Research Needs

Carol-Ann Morgan’s latest Thursday Night Insight post looks at how the current state of the economy impacts on our marketing and market research behaviour. Wider economic factors may be beyond our control, but that doesn’t mean to say we have no control over our own destiny..

I met with a friend of mine the other night, whose business is in the manufacture and fitting of products for the construction industry. Our conversation quickly turned to the current economic position and how this might be affecting business. The major impact he has seen was in the volume of work available. No surprises as pressures affecting the construction industry are widely reported in the media. My friend proceeded, enthusiastically, to tell about his efforts to ramp up his marketing; increasing his spend, producing new and interesting literature in a variety of media, maximising his high project successes, maintaining his contact database and using hospitality events productively.

I was struck by his approach, and his investment in what he saw as safeguarding the future of the business in the very competitive and challenging market in which he operates. There can be a tendency to think that marketing actions and ideas stem mainly from the larger companies, with designated marketing personnel beavering away for the company. Quite clearly, the recognition of the need for marketing and market knowledge, particularly in challenging times, extends to the SME.

Market research requirements change during times of high and low growth. In high growth times, companies tend to be feeling more optimistic, looking for new markets and new products. Market assessment and product development tend to be high on the agenda. However, in low growth times, there is an even greater need to understand our customers, meet their needs, keep them satisfied and build loyalty, and this is reflected in the type of research requests received.

My friend reminded me that the worst thing you can do when times are hard is nothing!

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