Written by Michelle Edwards | USA
on January 26, 2023

Yes, I can hear the collective groans. For some of us, the word "research" brings back memories of looking through a class syllabus at the beginning of a course and mentally calculating how many hours we were going to end up spending in the lab… or the library… or crunching numbers. But, if you want your company to be as successful as it deserves to be – and you do want that, right? Then you are going to need data. And not just random, heard it on the street data – insightful and well collected qualitative and quantitative data.

A 2018 Hanover Research Report indicates that 68% of companies have increased their sales using market research, and; “companies that frequently conduct market research are more likely to improve customer retention, enter a new market, and launch a new product or service than their counterparts who do not conduct market research.”

Market research can be daunting, a seemingly never ending road. Today we will focus on 3 “R’s” in market research to help you find your way with a focus on these three questions;

  • Is your research relevant?
  • Is it rich?
  • When was the last time it was reviewed?


Is your research relevant?

You love your business. We know this, because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t get out of bed each day and spend the majority of it working. You want your business to grow, to be successful, perhaps even to be famous! But are you doing the right things to get there? Are you spending your precious time and money on what is RELEVANT

Do you really “know thyself?” Or have you become too insular, too focused on what or how you started – on what got you to where you are today. Are you so fixated that you can’t see the forest for the trees. Yes, great, you have been doing market research. But is it relevant? Have you used qualitative as well as quantitative research to understand:

  • Who are your customers and what are their challenges, and needs, and pain points?
  • Who you would like your customers to be – now, and down the road a bit?
  • What offerings your customers do, (or don’t), gravitate to and why?
  • Where your customers are doing THEIR research, and why they are making the purchase decisions that they are?
  • And perhaps most importantly, who your competitors are, and how you are perceived in comparison to them? 

Let’s approach these in reverse order. Who are your competitors - and are you sure about that? You may think that you know who your main competitors are, but without good data, you might be wrong. Let’s say you believe there are three companies that do what you do, and let’s call your company “Company A”. “Company B” is the big kid on the block. You have been trying to emulate their success for years. And then there is “Company C”, they are a bit of a nuisance, but you aren’t really concerned about them. UNTIL… you take the time to do proper market research perhaps including:

  • Questionnaires.
  • Customer (and non-customer) surveys.
  • Interviews.
  • Focus groups.
  • Polls. 

Data from each of these types of research, if framed and executed properly can bring unexpected results, even though they will take time and know-how to get right. And guess what - you may find out that your REAL competitor is “Company D”. Darn it! You spent so much time, effort, and money focusing on “Company B” that you didn’t even realize “Company D” was out there - and offering something that your customers (and potential customers) are excited about. 

And not only is “Company D” eating your lunch, you find that they are at least TWO steps ahead of you. They have discovered that the customers you are aiming to bring onboard, spend their time deciding where and what to buy – in trade publications and at trade shows. NOT on social media, where you have been sinking all of your time, money, and efforts. 

Relevant research is imperative, regardless of whether you are B2B, B2C, or even a location. Take the time to look beyond what you think you know. Open your observational ears and listen. Asking relevant questions in the right region is critical to the success of your research and in turn your brand. 

Is your data rich?

You are certain your data is relevant. Next question, is it RICH? You may be asking; “What the heck does that mean?” Well, it can mean a number of things including, but not limited to:

  • Is it relevant or just mud in the swamp?
  • Is it statistically significant?
  • Is it a red herring?
  • Within the data, what are the nuggets, and how do you utilize them?

You have done your market research. Great! But now you have piles of data, what next? An important place to begin is by going through your data with an eye to the above. Is the data relevant? Even if you have taken the time to ensure that the proper questions were asked, to the proper audience, there will always be answers that frankly just muddy the waters. 

“In the entire existence of UP LAB we have always asked for, and reviewed previous surveys, and we have never repeated even a single question. Finding things out is not necessarily helpful and casting a wide net can often get you more questions than answer."

What is your objective? Where do you want to be next year, and/or 5 years down the road? Did you ask the right questions? And is your data statistically significant when compared to other data you have collected. Keep an eye out for those red herrings, they can easily distract you and draw your attention away from key findings in your research. Start with only a few hypotheses and then form strategic answers based on the research. 


Lastly, go through your data with an eye for the nuggets. Reviewing data can be a lot like panning for gold. Sometimes you have to sift through a tremendous amount of silt to find gold. But you will find nuggets, if you have asked the proper questions, and you take the time to look - and when you do, you may be surprised what you learn about your brand. 

“Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion."

  • W. Edwards Deming

Your data, if properly framed and collected, is precious. The real art then lies in how you read it and use it in a relevant way to ensure the success of the objectives of your project. Relevant and rich data can be hugely beneficial when building a brand strategy, or developing an effective marketing communications stream that speaks to, and supports the needs of your most precious asset, your customers. 

When was the last time you reviewed your data?

The last in your list of the 3 “R’s” is REVIEW. Sadly, you can’t just rest on your market research laurels. If your objective is the continued success of your brand, you must continuously review your data, in conjunction with the ever changing business environment.

What is changing for:

  • The market?
  • Your competitors?
  • Your customers (or desired customers)?
  • The technological landscape?
  • Regulatory requirements?


You will want to understand emerging trends to reduce risk, define future products (and what markets you want to keep/expand into). It will be important to remember past difficulties and hiccups as well as places where you perhaps went off course. It may be beneficial to bring in an outside expert who can review your data for quality, and work with you to develop a strategy to improve outcomes. If you are considering entering a different regional market, be certain that your experts have global knowledge and experience. The needs, requirements, and regulations of various regions can be vastly different.

It is important to spend time reviewing where you came from, where you are, as well as where you want to be 2, 5, 10 years from now. The good news is that now that you have a start, you won’t groan everytime you hear the words “market research”.

Interested in learning more about Market Research? Check out our UP LAB!

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