Friday, April 1, 2016

Market Research: The Foundation of A Successful Growth Strategy

Manufacturers are continuously looking to diversify their customer base, expand into new markets, and grow business. Conducting market research is a crucial component of developing a strong growth strategy.

The importance of market research is often times overlooked. A small part of this is due to human nature. Developing new products, brainstorming innovations, and marketing new ideas are all generally very exciting, while researching and surveying are often thought of as a “little less glamorous.” However, your growth initiatives will fall flat without extracting and evaluating relevant data from current and potential customers.

An Organized, Multi-Pronged Approach
Market research entails more than just calling a couple of customers and asking them about their needs. The true process is a formalized, organized effort to assemble critical data about your potential targets. The goal is to develop a systematic and sustainable approach towards a continuous generation of new products, marketing concepts, and/or process improvements while reducing the risks typically associated with such activities. Market research uses a combination of both qualitative and quantitative methods to gain important insight:

  • Quantitative methods include tactics like structured customer surveys or online questionnaires to provide quantifiable statistical data. It helps manufacturers drive decisions based on numbers.
  • Qualitative methods help organizations understand the “human aspects” of their targets. This approach includes tactics like focus group discussions and individual, in depth interviews to help manufacturers understand the reasons, motivations, and emotions of their targets.

SWOT Analysis
SWOT analysis
Doing a business SWOT analysis is a long-standing and essential part of market research. This analysis helps companies evaluate internal and external factors, both positive and negative, impacting an organization’s ability to overcome its competition.

  1. S – Strengths: Internal business characteristics of a manufacturer which fundamentally provide an advantage. Examples include having a tech-savvy team, good reputation within the community, or strong cash flow.
  1. W – Weaknesses: Internal business characteristics of a manufacturer which fundamentally provide a disadvantage. Examples include having a very inexperienced team filled with new hires or deteriorating infrastructure.
  1. O – Opportunities: External factors a manufacturer can leverage to gain a bigger advantage. Examples include new tax credits introduced for manufacturers or an emerging generation of customers who support environmentally conscious companies. 
  1. T – Threats: External factors which could lead to challenges for a manufacturer. Examples include a competitor receiving a public award or a pricing spike from suppliers.

Market Research Services Available for Michigan Manufacturers
MMTC’s Market Research team helps small and medium sized organizations acquire and analyze data. By extracting and analyzing data from multiple sources, the Market Research team can help you identify promising markets and customers, and qualify and develop lists of priority customer leads.

Database Research
Customer Surveys
The MMTC research team subscribes to proprietary databases and online search tools to create a clear picture of the markets you serve or seek to serve.
  • Overall market size and growth potential
  • Key OEM’s and suppliers
  • Geographic distribution of customers and competitors
  • Industry regulations and trends
  • Distribution channels
  • Pre-screened lists of target customers
Online surveys and in depth telephone interviewing help you understand your customers and anticipate their needs.
  • Measure customer satisfaction
  • Understand awareness and perceptions of your company and its products compared to competitors
  • Identify improvement opportunities
  • Gauge customer demand for new products
  • Target marketing messages to customers

Don’t overlook this very important step of the growth process. Click here to learn more about MMTC’s Market Intelligence and Research solutions or contact us at inquiry@mmtc.org or 888.414.6682 today!

Join MMTC at a FREE Overview Event 
Join MMTC April 21, 2016 for EXPLORE: The Competitive Intelligence Advantage, an overview event focused on competitive intelligence & the benefit of research to your business. Competitive intelligence helps business leaders make stronger strategic decisions and can help you answer:
• Who are our direct competitors?
• What substitute products or services exist?
• What are our strengths compared to the competition?
• What products or services should we offer?


Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.mmtc.org.

2 comments:

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