Half of industrial marketers now use primary market research to plan their marketing strategy, according to the results of IHS Engineering360 Media Solutions’ latest research report How Industrial Marketers Use Market Research.
Market research is rated as above average in importance by industrial marketers, yet 63 percent spend less than 10 percent of their annual budget on it, and 54 percent say that budget is a primary barrier to using market research. So there is some disconnect on the part of marketers between perceived value and willingness to invest in market research.
Half of industrial marketers now use primary market research to plan their marketing strategy.
Types of research industrial marketers rely on
Primary and Secondary
There are two types of market research: primary and secondary. Half of industrial marketers use primary research, which is new and original research. Those that rely on primary research either conduct it themselves (64 percent), have other internal people do it (63 percent) or hire an outside vendor (46 percent).
Forty-eight percent of industrial marketers use secondary research, which makes use of information previously researched for other purposes and is publicly available. The most popular secondary research sources are Internet search, used by 85 percent, followed by industry analyst reports (78 percent) and books, periodicals and magazines (62 percent). The industry analyst reports most often used come from Forrester, Frost & Sullivan and IHS.
Qualitative and Quantitative
Market research can be qualitative or quantitative in nature. Qualitative research tends to provide information that has depth and subjectivity. Quantitative research is focused on being statistically relevant. Qualitative tactics include one-on-one interviews, phone interviews, usability surveys and focus groups. Quantitative tactics are typically surveys conducted online (the most popular tactic) or by phone or direct mail.
What industrial marketers want to gain from research
For those industrial marketers that conduct primary research, their goals are to gain knowledge about the marketplace/target audience (76 percent), develop competitive analysis (70 percent), understand existing customers (68 percent) and identify potential customers (65 percent). Entering a new market is the top reason why industrial marketers will invest in research.
Five Tips for Creating a Survey
1. Only ask useful questions.
Every question in your survey should have a purpose. The answer to any question should provide data you can use to help make better marketing or business decisions. If it won’t, strike it.
2. Use rating scales in a balanced and consistent manner.
On questions with rating scales, the lowest (or most negative) point should be the worst possible situation and the highest (or most positive) should be the best possible. The labels in between should be evenly spread. For example, “strongly disagree–disagree–neutral–agree–strongly agree” scale is a popular, balanced scale. Your scale direction (negative to positive or vice versa) should always go in the same direction. If “1” is the worst and “5” is the best, keep that rating model consistent throughout.
3. Avoid leading or loaded questions.
These types of questions will give you unreliable data. For example: “Expert reviewers have rated our oscillating water pumps the highest in the industry. Do you agree?” Most respondents will tend to strongly agree or agree with the statement because experts say so. A better way to phrase that question is: “How would you rate our oscillating water pumps?” and provide a rating scale for survey takers to offer their responses.
4. Use a funnel approach.
Ask broad questions first to introduce a topic, followed by more specific or complex questions. This helps your respondents loosen up before getting to the in-depth questions. End with your demographic questions, which are easy to answer.
5. Keep the survey short and simple.
The longer and more complicated your survey, the fewer number of respondents will complete it and some respondents may begin to answer questions without thinking them through. Having clear goals for your survey and making sure each question is relevant and has a purpose will help guide your structure and length. Market research experts agree that 15 minutes is the upper limit of what you can ask for your respondent’s time.
For additional tips on creating and designing market research surveys, and to access all survey results in chart form, download your complimentary copy of the How Industrial Marketers Use Market Research.
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What have you found successful with your market research efforts? What advice would you give to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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