In 25 years as a brand and marketing strategist and consultant, I have a long history of using market research to inform strategic decisionmaking. Not so long ago, it was common for a quantitative research study to occupy a significant portion of a consulting engagement’s budget, as well as its timeline. Unfortunately, this expensive research often came at the expense of quality thinking, advising and counseling—the very things our clients were paying us for!
From an internal perspective (and now as managing partner of a boutique consultancy), my team doesn’t have the luxury of investing in a mid- to high-five figure budget on a research project that is essentially for our own purposes. Yet we occasionally need to validate that the services we provide to our clients deliver the consistent and reliable business growth rates we promise.
Fortunately, there are affordable new alternatives to traditional market research. Cloud-based, self-directed survey tools are now available that are both sophisticated and easy to use. In fact we recently used SurveyMonkey Audience to design, field, analyze, and interpret a research study that gave us exactly the insights we were looking for, at a fraction of the price and time we expected.
Several months ago we were looking to author and eventually market a study to demonstrate the value of the brand, marketing, and innovation strategy services we provide. As you can imagine, a promise of improved business results is more compelling when it is backed by research that demonstrates meaningful business impact. By conducting market research, we hoped we could empirically validate the value of the work we do on behalf of clients, and establish ourselves as thought leaders by marketing the content both online and offline.
We created a quantitative survey using SurveyMonkey Audience to ask 500+ business executives how they approach brand, marketing, and innovation strategy. We then compared the results of companies that exhibited superior growth to those with only average or below average growth performance.
The research findings exceeded our every expectation. Our respondents of interest (which we have subsequently dubbed “Growth Gurus”) represented slightly less than 20% of our sample, and are truly best-in-class in how they approach many aspects of brand, marketing, and innovation. Below are a couple representative snapshots from our findings, which clearly support our ingoing hypothesis and illustrate the premise we were seeking to validate:
As you can see, our “Growth Gurus” consistently use best practices in brand, marketing, and innovation strategy—and they know their customer base very well. This compelling data is something we will be able to leverage in business development and content marketing material in order to help convince prospective clients to work with our consultancy.
We are now in the process of packaging our research findings as proof of the importance of solid brand and marketing strategy in driving business growth, and to market the study aggressively to drive new business leads.
Mitch Duckler is the managing partner of FullSurge, a strategic consulting company that helps clients grow through brand-building, marketing and innovation.