Myth 1: 
We can cut market research budgets when times are difficult.

Oh no we can’t! Research/ knowledge becomes more, not less important in times of hardship.


If your marketing budget has been slashed by 50%, then it has to work 50% harder than before just to stand still!

For example, do you know whether you are targeting the right people, saying the right thing or indeed even being heard above the noise of your competitors? You need to talk to your customers to find out.

At the most fundamental level, do you even know if you are satisfying your current customers’ needs and what else they want from you?


Myth 2:
Only large organisations need market research

Some large organisations are big research spenders but not all, and conversely smaller companies can be unexpectedly high research spenders.

We all know that organisations have to fight hard to exist in such difficult times. How can they do that without key information about their market? Ask yourself these few simple questions

  • 1 Who are your customers?
  • 2 What do you know about them – age, gender, life stage?
  • 3 What is important to them in their lives and do you relate to those values?
  • 4 What do you know about your competitors’ customers?
  • 5 What turns them off your/competitors brand?
  • 6 When do customers make the decision on which brand to buy and what influences this decision?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions then you need to find out!


Myth 3:
Market research is expensive

Some complex research studies can be expensive but many aren’t and research can start at the most basic level.

There are some elements you can do for yourself, but, there comes a point beyond the basic information that you need the help of a dedicated research professional.

For example, you may need to talk to a large sample of people; find out why non-customers reject your brand; conduct taste tests for new products or perhaps you need to know where your brand is positioned in the market and why.

You may also want research to feature in your advertising, endorsing your brand e.g. 81% of netmums members would recommend Coco Pops Moon and Stars to friends (spotted on this morning’s cereal packet!).


Research must continue to fight hard for its position within the marketing budget. However, particularly, in times of economic downturn, it punches way above its weight. It has to be an integral part of any business that wishes to succeed in such a tough environment. What was the old saying- ‘Knowledge is king’. Gut instinct or previous experience is no longer enough.


( Extract from my recent article written in Business First – December 2012)