How to Do Proper Strategic Planning With Market Research

Golden Compass Needle on a Black Field Pointing to the Word Research

Are you looking to improve your business runs on a day-to-day basis? Then it may be time for you to focus on strategic planning with market research.

Identifying how and by whom strategic decisions are made, what information is used to inform those decisions, and how to better use the data you have on your consumers will increase your ability to market your product to your ideal consumer – and drive your business’ growth.

Understanding Your Strategic Process

Only 6 out of 10 companies around the world think their companies are “consumer-centric,” and just over half “reported a clear understanding of consumers’ tastes and needs,” according to our e-book, “Capturing Competitive Advantage: Using Insights to Tame the Strategic Planning Beast.”

What about your business? Would you consider your company’s approach to be consumer-centric? Or do you, too, feel left in the dark about the true nature of your customer base? The best strategic plan for your business is one that is rooted in insights about consumer behaviors, with fact-based discussions about your consumers as the driving force behind the decision-making that will form your strategy.

Think about how your company currently approaches its strategy. Who leads and who participates in strategic decision-making? When does your current planning process usually begin? What sort of data is used for current planning methods?

The answers to these questions will put you on your way to understanding how consumer information is gathered, examined, and acted upon by your company, which is the first step to improving your overall strategy.

Using Insights about Your Consumers to Plan Strategically

Once you develop a better understanding of your company’s strategy-forming process, the next step should be to “conduct a Consumer Insights Audit” to know what information you have currently, as well as how that information was gathered.

Once you have found the information that will be the most helpful to your planning, you can begin to develop an idea of who you’re ideal consumer is by compiling a list of characteristics that defines your customers in quantifiable ways. Here are just a few examples of how to do this:

  • Our customer is best described as…
  • Our consumer is motivated by and needs…
  • At the point of purchase, we know our consumers…

You are creating a “Consumer Digest.” Build a strong “digest” and it will be a lot easier for you to find the right consumer demographics to provide you with the most growth opportunities for your business.

Making Sure Your Colleagues Buy into a Consumer Insights Culture

As you develop a better understanding of what makes your ideal consumer tick, it is crucial to convince your colleagues of the importance of a consumer-insight-driven approach in your business’s strategic planning. This way, everyone can make sure that they are thinking about this ideal consumer with every business decision that they make. The best way to do this is to create a description of your ideal consumer that is simple, straightforward, and memorable, and make sure that it is well-publicized throughout your organization.

Chris Holt is a Senior Marketing Consultant at Insights in Marketing, a Chicago-area marketing research consultancy. Chris has over 25 years’ experience in global qualitative research and shopper insights. You can download Insights in Marketing’s free strategic planning eBook, “Capturing Competitive ADVANTAGE: Using Insights to Tame the Strategic Planning Beast,” here.


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