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  • Suzanne Lugthart

Why you don’t need to spend money on market research to succeed

I’m a believer in investing in market research during a recession. It will put you in a stronger position come the recovery and will help minimise risk in the meantime as you adapt your product/service offering to new customer behaviours

But it’s inevitable that many people will see their research budgets cut. This is a bad thing because it may mean what you do is being seen more as a cost than an investment. So your top priority during a downturn must be to fix that. To work out how to be judged by the value you bring the business, not the number of projects you get out the door or the cost savings you make by bringing work in house

But anyway back to my catchy headline. Market research is a process. What you are really looking for is customer understanding. And this is freely available to any organisation even if they don’t have a penny to spend on market research. Here are some ways you can grab some for free

Spend some time with a customer - if you’re B2B visit them or, if that’s not feasible, build a relationship with some of them and schedule a regular chat

Observe them - if your product is sold in retail, watch how they make decisions in store. If you don’t get thrown out for stalkerish behaviour, chat to a few of them as they exit to try to understand their behaviour

Listen in on the calls your sales team are making or customer services are receiving

If you’re in manufacturing, visit the shop floor and ask people how they think the product is doing. You’ll find they understand the business’s strengths and weaknesses as well as any Board Director

See if someone has already done the work for you: Google is your friend. There’s a ton of research in the public domain. It may not be perfect but it may help

Just promise me that you don’t start writing your own surveys. You only have to look at YouGov to know that garbage questions to a bunch of people collecting loyalty points and with time on their hands won’t help you. Get a pro in to help design something that might get you nearer the truth.

Meanwhile enjoy getting to know your customers better and the real problems you need to solve for them for zero cost apart from your time. Merry Christmas.


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