upfront research: save money now, secure your product's future
If you knew your product could perform better in-market, would you try to improve it?
That may seem like a dumb rhetorical question. Yet, when you consider how many brands go straight to market with little or no research, it becomes a genuine query. Why place unnecessary risk on your product if you can prevent it?
“A sustainable business constantly needs new ideas to satisfy the evolving demands of consumers, but too often new ideas fail as a result of inadequate market research. Therefore, access to insights that can optimise your current and future product offering and assist in connecting your brands to the right consumers in the right way is critical.” (Forbes)
Bringing innovation to life is tough, there’s no denying that, but we’d like to challenge some common research concerns and set the record straight. Why? Because we happen to know a thing or two about the real value of research in your innovation strategy.
Today, we’re sharing tips and tricks on how (and why!) you should invest in upfront research in order to safeguard your product’s future, impress your boss and supercharge your sales.
The struggle is real.
In our experience, reluctance to do the necessary research tends to come down to four key areas of concern:
- The options are overwhelming and you don’t know where to start.
- The cost is too expensive and stakeholders are already questioning budgets.
- You should’ve started yesterday and there’s no time.
- It’s hard to see beyond company walls, so consumer input falls by the wayside while internal “experts” take over the ideation process.
We can picture the scene because we’ve all been there…
You’ve got questions and you need answers, yet Google is sending you down a rabbit hole. You don’t want to sift through pages and pages of data to determine your best next move. Oh, and everything seems to cost a BOMB.
We feel you but we promise, no matter what you’re trying to create or launch, there is a research technique that can help you maximise its success. There is always time for research, there is always someone who can support you in doing it, and you will always save money in the long run by arming yourself with consumer insight.
Why early research is essential.
1. It frees up money and time later down the line.
Yes, you can save money by dodging the data. However, you’ll spend an extortionate amount more trying to mop up the mess if your communications, packaging or formula doesn’t resonate with your customers.
And what will it cost if your product doesn’t sell when it hits the shelves? Sometimes a “no-go” decision is just as valuable as a call to launch. In our view, prevention is always better than an expensive cure.
2. It minimises mistakes.
Fixing rushed launches is no fun for anyone. Upfront research delivers the data you need to make decent decisions and swerve silly mistakes that could have been avoided should you have been better prepared and informed.
3. It uncovers key factors that encourage repeat purchases.
Using research tools like IHUTs (in-home usages tests) can help you measure brand fit and ensure people don’t just trial your product, they keep coming back for more.
Ultimately, when you lead with the consumer, you always win. You get to create consumer-relevant products with high conversion rates, engaged retail partners and reliable long-term returns. What’s not to love?!
Quick tips and tricks.
1. Avoid overwhelm by starting from the beginning and writing yourself a brief.
How would you frame the problem to yourself? What do you already know and what do you need to know? The clearer you are with your objectives upfront, the better the research will be.
2. Find a provider that you trust, not just the one with the cheapest quote.
This is critical because the decisions you make off the back of this research could fundamentally change your product and grow your brand beyond belief.
3. Black box solutions rarely work, so invest in the right techniques and tools for the job.
Don’t shy away from questioning your agency if they offer different solutions. They should be able to advise you and deliver a result that you’re confident to implement.
4. Don’t buy into long-winded research reports.
Your agency’s outputs must be sharp and useful, and if you don’t understand something in the debrief, ask!
5. Always embed the consumer into your NPD processes from the get-go.
Your consumers’ voices must be heard, loud and clear, throughout the entire innovation journey. Real users of the products in your category are the best advocates for what they need. They’re also brutally honest when products fall short, which is a serious lifeline when it comes to avoiding expensive production mistakes!
Reconsidering your frame of reference.
As you’re reading this article, take some time to think about how you currently do (or don’t do) research.
Is your business being stunted by the limiting belief that research is “too expensive” or that it’s “only an add-on”?
The truth is, your decision to invest in research can often be the difference between a new product sinking or swimming (and you’ll save yourself a pretty penny in the long run too!).
Here is the PLAY way of doing things. Do these principles help shift your perspective?
Aim for re-purchase, not just trial.
The next time you’re considering launching something new without research, remind yourself of the value that you’re neglecting to add to your product. Make it your mission to create something worth trialling and repurchasing.
Take action on results.
The true value of research lies in the insights you draw and the actions you take. There is no point doing research if the results sit in your bottom drawer. A good agency will tell you what they found, but a great agency will tell you what the results mean so that your business has a clear path forward.
Trust transforms everything.
When you surround yourself with partners you trust and allow them to provide you with the information you need, you’ll quickly realise that the real value of research is having the power to change everything - and there is always room in the budget for that!
Ready to secure your product's future?
Whether you need a 10-minute survey or a week-long innovation sprint, a bit of brand tracking or a slither of sensory research, PLAY is here to help.
If you’re eager to bring some structure into your strategy, we can support you with mapping out your innovation moves and bringing new products to life through early research.