Let’s face it: market research isn’t cheap. When your organization is spending tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on market research, there can understandably be some sticker shock. No wonder marketers so often think they can make a decision without research. After all, how much value is in an insight? We spend a lot of time thinking about this question. The truth is, the answer varies depending on who you work for, what you make, and the purpose of the research. However, there are a few questions marketers should ask themselves to determine the value of research in their own organization.

1. Is the purpose of the research simply risk mitigation to avoid revenue loss, or to discover something new to drive revenue gains? We’ve all heard stories of close calls and blunders that were avoided by market research, but research can also be used to drive proactive decisions, which increases its value.

2. Are you following through to implementation? If so, you’re likely increasing the value of the insight by applying it throughout the organization.

3. Do you consider market research to be more of a validation or a challenge? When research is used to question our existing perceptions, this leads to innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. Ultimately, though, when it comes to a successful insight, sometimes you just know it when you see it. It creates chatter and excitement among the brand team. It makes your stakeholders feel good and hopeful about their product. It creates a sense of relaxation and security in your marketing strategy. After all, knowledge is power.

Ellen Hart is a Senior Associate Consultant at Vivisum Partners. She specializes in in-depth qualitative research in healthcare and nonprofit fields.

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