How to Maximize your Research Budget in a Recession
Ruth Stanat, President and CEO
January 28, 2009
Clearly, this deep global recession has taken it toll on marketing departments and market research and competitive intelligence budgets. Senior executives, strategic planning and marketing departments face the following challenge of how to continue the following initiatives with a reduced research budget:
- Global expansion plans
- Customer satisfaction tracking
- Competitor intelligence monitoring
- Market opportunity/market sizing projects
- Customer and brand loyalty projects
- New product development tests
- Ad tests
The Challenge and Opportunity of a Reduced Research Budget
A reduced research budget forces executives to re-think their long term and tactical strategy. It also forces them to prioritize initiatives in this downturn. To this end, global expansion plans may be curbed. On the other hand, this presents a risk as their competitors may still move forward into global and emerging markets, thus putting them at a strategic disadvantage when the market turns up. The key is to prioritize and to “get the most from your reduced research budget” so your firm will not fall behind in the next few years. This paper will discuss general strategies on how to efficiently utilize a reduced research budget and to provide this intelligence to senior management during this market downturn.
Competitive Intelligence Monitoring
It is important to consider not cutting the competitive intelligence monitoring budget. Companies should still be monitoring your competitors’ movements in the global market place. To this end, the following are examples of cost effective competitive intelligence monitoring techniques that companies can utilize from either internal resources or research suppliers.
1. Ongoing CI Monitoring and Tracking Programs
This can be accomplished by monitoring the web, blogs, and the media. This information can be validated by outside research suppliers with people on the ground. Research suppliers can offer ongoing tracking programs to cost effectively yield the maximum amount of CI intelligence tracking for the budget.
2. Focused Competitor Profiles
Rather than commissioning multiple competitor profiles, it may be possible to prioritize budgets with the top 1 or 2 competitors that can be covered for the budget. It is important to share the intelligence that resides internally with the research supplier to save time and money to avoid their reinventing of the wheel.
3. Conducting Business Intelligence Prior to Commissioning Qualitative and Quantitative Field Work
Companies can first consider conducting Business Intelligence, prior to costly qualitative and quantitative research projects. Business Intelligence reports include a mixed methodology of desk research and interviews with key opinion leaders. This snap shot of market intelligence, will provide a road map for qualitative and quantitative research budgets.
Ways to Get the Most Value for the Price of Qualitative Market Research
1. Focus Groups
From the business intelligence report, companies may likely be able to target the geographical area and respondent profiles for the development of their research design for focus groups. This leads to a more “streamlined rifle” approach rather than focus on a large scale geographical coverage approach to country research.
2. In-Depth Interviews