Importance of Market Research
Great marketable ideas do not come by as infrequently as one might think. What is truly rare is when a great marketable idea finds itself in the market and becomes successful. Why is this when so many individuals and institutions have come up with numerous ideas, which they have discussed thoroughly and committed to paper? Not to mention our education system, which is producing an increasing number of graduates capable of coming up with unique. Innovate and revolutionary ideas. Yet, these ideas tend to get shelved, forgotten and start gathering dust. Is this the result of fear of failure and risk aversion, or possibly the lack of know-how needed to build upon that great idea and turn it into a successful product or service?
American author and motivational speaker, Jack Canfield once said: “Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it. “
However, taking a step in the dark leaves a lot to chance, so before one takes such action, gathering some information can prevent you from making a very costly mistake. In general it is human to try and go for the better option. We tend to go through all the listings we can get hold of before buying a new house, we make countless internet searches before going on a holiday, so why should this be any different in a business setting?
Before launching their revolutionary product almost all successful companies have prepared themselves and found out the answers to all their whos. Whats, wheres, whys and hows. This process, known in the field of marketing as ‘market research’ is a crucial component of all great successful companies, no matter what their offering is, be it a service, a small novelty item or an exclusive luxury good.
The fact of the matter is that you don’t need to leave anything to chance or struggle to make a decision when you can make an informed decision.
Market research is not simply an exercise to be undertaken by start-up companies. Even if one has enjoyed success in the past, knowing how your market is changing and evolving is crucial, even more so in the Maltese context, where the number of new SMEs is increasing each year. Conversely, a number of SMEs also file for bankruptcy each year. In the present day, keeping the status-quo is not enough anymore and is definitely not a guarantee of consistent revenue or future success. The reality is that SMEs must innovate or perish!
Innovation is not simply a buzz word to be used in company meetings where everyone agrees that “We must become more innovative” yet nothing happens. This needs to become an actionable plan informed by gaps in the current market and the customer needs of the particular market. Knowing your customers and keeping up with the latest trends can be the difference between success and failure and is the principle reason why a company gains ground in such a saturated market while another company closes down.
It is very unfortunate that there are still a large number of SMEs that do not comprehend the value of such research. We only hope that more great ideas become marketable products and more local SMEs follow the example of successful local and international business to improve their growth, competitive advantage and increase their contribution to the Maltese economy.