I am a huge fan of Patty Azzarello. Her blog on business leadership is consistently full of the kind of advice that makes you change the way you work (or wish you’d had someone to tell you before you learned the hard and painful way.)
She recently posted a great article, titled “Do We Need More Data?” It’s a great question and one that market researchers are often scared to ask, because if the answer is “no”, you lose business.
She makes a very important observation: There is time for market analysis and study, and there are times when either you know the answer, or there is no more useful data to be had.
Patty is not bashing market research here, the way some bloggers often do. She merely points out that it’s worthwhile checking in to make sure that’s what your project needs before you move forward.
She also suggests a great question that I ask all my clients: “What additional data is available that’s going to help me?” Going into a research project, you should have a good idea of how you will be able to act on what you learn. If your research shows that the market has a strong need for something that is outside of the core competency of your business, you may have done something interesting, but you haven’t added value to your business.
As always, it’s about goals. And when knowing specific information about the market is going to drive better business decisions, then you do need more data, and it’s time for a market research project.