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When not to initiate market research

Many words have been written on why a company should initiate a market study exercise. But what is equally important is knowing when not to initiate such an exercise. Here are 3 key considerations –

a. Timelines: If you do not have too much time for a detailed study, the best idea is not to get into it. Many times, we have seen companies get into a market study with very aggressive timelines. There is pressure on the data collection and analysis phases leaving scope for errors, missed opportunities etc. In cases where there is little time, it is best to go with secondary information, insights from people in the field, and talking to industry experts/analysts.

b. Unclear scope – if you are unsure about what you are looking to find through the market research, then don’t start it. Because a vague idea of what you want to get out of it will only lead to dissatisfaction. Instead it would be wiser to take small steps – test out a few hypotheses and once more clarity emerges, embark on a full-fledged market research confidently. We once had a client who started with a broad objective of understanding the hi-tech industry in the US and explore the feasibility of offering services to it. While this was a very high level brief, we ideated with the client on a frequent basis to evolve the scope and define the contours of the study. Finally, it all emerged as a clear picture and we were able to develop a comprehensive report on the hitech industry in the US and what it entailed for the client. However, this requires a mature and aware client to be able to tolerate this ambiguity and shape up the research.

c. Feasibility of info – is the info you are looking for difficult to procure? For example, are you looking for a very specific piece of information like the market size of cloud based services among retailers in Michigan? You get the idea – such granularity may be difficult and expensive to arrive at and moreover not necessary at all.

By following these three simple rules, one can avoid a lot of pain and hardships. You will agree that nobody is satisfied with an incomplete or high level report. So why get into something that is likely to fail?

Do you agree? Do share your experiences…

(This blog first appeared on www.prayag.com)