Types Of Research To Drive Business Growth
15 July 2020
10 mins read
Research is pivotal in so many ways. There’s a direct correlation between systematic research and growth in businesses. Research - yes, research - shows that companies and firms who carried out frequent research grew the fastest and were most profitable. Also, studies show that the fastest-growing companies do more research on their customers.
But why is research so valuable? It informs actions. It drives business growth. It exposes areas of concentration and unravels complexities that would otherwise remain tangled. The research draws power from the singular fact that it is empirical. Rather than theorising about what might be useful or what could work, research provides hard data gotten from well-designed studies that give decision-makers enough backing.
An ongoing internal study into companies shows the defining difference between High-performing companies and Low- performing companies. From gross revenue figures for the past three years, the study calculated compound annual growth rates. There are 82 companies in this study, and all of them are doing above 50 million Naira annually.
In our study, we found out that these High-performing companies experienced business growth about three times faster than average, while the Low-performing ones had their revenue contracted by 7-8% annually. While a few of these high-performing companies grew through mergers and acquisitions, about 85% of their growth was organic. The result was not only rapid growth - these High-performing companies were more than twice as likely to be highly profitable (gross profit figures exceeding 20%).
Our studies further reveal that these High-performing companies used three key strategies to achieve this business growth. They invested heavily in digital marketing, they nurtured and restructured their marketing team to fit their goals, and last but perhaps the most significant, they conducted frequent research on their target audience to be able to meet their needs.
The study further revealed that as a result of this frequent research, these High performing companies saw about 30% more impact on average from conducting and publishing these researches.
Matching research type with business needs.
To begin to weaponize research as a tool for driving growth for your business, you need to decide on the kind of research you need to do and how it will tie into growth for your business. Research branches out in different forms, and in the coming paragraphs, we’ll explore the different types of research and discover how they can be used to drive growth in diverse aspects of your business.
Brand research is the arm of research that helps you decide on how you present yourself to the world, visually and in terms of messaging. For businesses already running, brand research offers insights into negative perceptions or positive ones and helps brands through survival or growth as the case may be.
Brand research also helps businesses generate actionable insights to help with market penetration and product and consumer experience strategies. Business owners can carry out analysis via surveys that help them understand the landscape and develop a launch strategy. Brand research can also be conducted after launch to assist in the development of brand assets and to track consumers awareness, perceptions, and experience.
Why brand research is so important is that it helps business owners with information about how their direct consumers think, feel, and respond to their products and services as a result of their interactions and experiences.
In this age of social media, a brand needs to have an understanding of their perception, as this can drive changes in brand positioning, leading to increased brand loyalty, more relevant brand identity and improved brand equity.
Perhaps one of the most important research of all, market research is the process of gathering information from consumers and business customers, depending on the kind of industry your business operates in. Companies can then use information gleaned from this research to design better products, improve user experience, and craft a marketing message that attracts quality leads, improves conversion rates and above all, leads to business growth. Without market research, it is almost impossible to understand your user.
There are three primary forms that market research takes:
As the name suggests, exploratory research spotlights the critical points of a situation, and by so doing enables researchers to gain insight into a challenge. While explorative analysis might not provide the full picture or enough data to form one, it helps create a foundation on which companies can start to build better research objectives for subsequent studies. Explorative research relies on qualitative measures like consumer and expert interviews, focus groups, as well as secondary research materials including books, syndicated reports and trade journals or magazines for its data.
Descriptive research digs deeper into a problem. It aims to describe the situation in ways that can give decision-makers comprehensive insight to make decisions and monitor progress. Unlike exploratory, descriptive research is quantitative by nature and employs a standardised format with close-ended questions to collect information that can be statistically measured and analysed.
Surveys, questionnaires and certain types of experiments are all types of descriptive research methodologies that can provide the necessary data to formulate conclusions, take action and measure changing attitudes and behaviours over time.
When there’s a need to draw linkages between two or more events and situations, a causal research method comes into play. It deploys experimentation to predict and test these theories and facts with multi-variant testings.
Also quantitative, causal research enables researchers to manipulate chosen variables with the hope that a specific effect will result. For instance, a business might devise an experiment to see what would happen to sales if their product’s packaging or advertisements were altered in some way. They could test out different hypotheses in a multi-variant testing system. While causal research can be informative, results gotten from this research should be tempered against those drawn from other types of research, for the very reason that it is hard to isolate and verify any one variable’s ability to cause any given effect.
Research can be done to gain insights into why clients/customers were lost or why customer conversions have been slow to come and why business growth has been stagnant. While surveying and listening to prospective residents who did not choose your products or services, we gain insights into the reasons why marketing goals are not being fulfilled and the deciding factors for these customers. The goal is to find out what your company did right (and wrong), how you can improve, and where you stand concerning the competition.
Sustaining a consistent loss analysis system can be daunting, especially for small businesses, but incorporating online surveys into the process can save companies significant time and money. Asking pointed questions are essential ways to get the insight needed to win back these customers. The questions typically asked in a Loss Analysis fall into four categories - Sales attributes, company reputation, product attributes, and service issues.
Customer satisfaction research.
Customer satisfaction is a measurement used to quantify the degree to which a customer is satisfied with a product, service, or experience. It refers to the aspect of business research, customer intelligence, and analytics that focuses on customers’ perceptions around their experience with your product or service. Gauging the satisfaction level of customers who interact with your product or services is an essential aspect of research that businesses must do.
Customer satisfaction is a crucial factor for success and depends highly on the behaviours of frontline service providers. It ties directly into customer retention efforts of a business and yields results that help businesses scale or makes informed decisions that will allow them to gain, retain and keep customers and consumers happy.
Information gleaned from customer satisfaction surveys from NBRI can provide your organisation with the necessary knowledge and tools to improve customer satisfaction, intent to return, intent to recommend, and overall financial performance.
As with other forms of research, customer satisfaction research can be done through digital-enabled surveys.
Employee engagement research.
Few companies are beginning to draw direct correlations between employee experience, fulfilment and happiness, productivity and growth. Conducting employee engagement surveys has become increasingly important to these companies who have hacked this secret.
These highly productive companies use employee engagement surveys to design or redesign established policies and implement critical changes that will help increase the efficiency, output, involvement, dedication and productivity of employees.
The employee engagement survey reveals the factors that drive employees to perform their best and also the ones that can put them off. It also helps companies work better at retaining the best talent within the organisation.
How Databeaver is simplifying research and data collection for businesses.
Although the concept of market research remains fundamentally unchanged, - researchers design market research in the same way still - these digital solutions help simplify the process of data collection and analysis for businesses.
For instance, Databeaver’s fully customisable forms come with a wide variety of input elements that can collect any kind of data in multiple formats, including image uploads, location data and land area.
Because data without actionable insights is just numbers, we allow users to carry out further analysis on data collected by enabling them manually export into CSV or by integrating directly with our APIs. We also offer offline capabilities that enable agents to continue gathering data in whatever location they find themselves in, whether there is an internet connection or not. These offline entries are queued on the app and uploaded once an internet connection is detected.
Advantages of Databeaver range from;
- Cost-effectiveness: The ability to capture more responses with relatively little effort and over a wider geographical zone.
- Time-saving: It offers flexibility and convenience in that it can be done from anywhere and at any time without any real consequences to time. You can instantly preview how your form will look even when accessed on a mobile device.
- Larger sample sizes: Researchers now have the means to reach a larger sample size without the gruelling work of interviewing people individually.
- OnGround Data: Users can leverage our team of agents to get access to on-field data depending on your target audience, their geographical location and access to the internet. With Databeaver, you can get all the data set needed to make informed decisions and power growth.
Iterate, again, and again.
We will end this article by reiterating that the purpose of research is to inform action and drive business growth. Whatever investigation you decide to carry out, you must contextualise its finding as it fits your business goals. Your research methodology must be designed in a reliable, foolproof way that will produce actionable insight. The data obtained from your research must exist in a way that can be used for future implementation.
If you’re looking for increased market participation, cost management benefits, advancements in marketing abilities and trend-matching, then optimising data and research is the way to go. The investment made into data and analysis has high ROI in that it significantly helps to reduce costs through more efficient production processes or more profitable products from information gleaned from the surveys.
Furthermore, proper research utilises methodologies that can be replicated, produces results that are examinable by peers, and creates knowledge that can be applied in context to the challenges faced by the business. Think about tapping into valuable insight that could lead to fast growth and increased revenue and profit for your company. This is the power of research.
Explore all the ways you begin to experience business growth through research by visiting Databeaver.