Recognise the Gold Mine you’re sitting on

8th May, 2015

Market research is a valuable tool used to garner insight into your business operation. It doesn’t all have to be outward facing though. Your business is likely to be sitting on a veritable gold mine of significant data sources. Sources you engage with almost each and every day. Sources you can maximise the value of to enhance your business understanding.

What are your questions?

Market research is all about searching – for the information to answer the questions that will help you do your job better. The information you need might already exist somewhere and it’s often much quicker and cheaper to collect this secondary research data, rather than commissioning primary research to go out and discover exactly what you need from scratch.

Where is the Data?

The secondary data in your business comes from your day to day interactions: sales, purchase orders, customer satisfaction surveys, CRM or email databases, and much more. Although the information exists for some other reason than to answer your research questions, each of those interactions with your client base is delivering valuable information directly to you, on a plate – and you can make use of it.

Ultimately, realising the gold mine means understanding the data you have. Start by writing a list of the information you have and where it’s held – look at these sources:

  • CRM systems
  • Sales data
  • Business cards
  • Social media interactions: likes, shares, pins, retweets, favourites
  • Google analytics
  • Customer surveys
  • Feedback emails
  • Email databases
  • Production schedules, shipments and inventories
  • Reseller numbers
  • Competitors
  • Your employees!

Look at the potential for internal data analysis amongst those sources. Do 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers? If so, what do those customers look like and how do you nurture them and find more like them?

It isn’t scary

If you’re new to analytics, you can take it easy to begin with, just picking out key figures and tracking progress over time. Also remember that you don’t have to do everything yourself – many software packages have dashboarding capabilities built in and you can also outsource data analysis too – it’s something we do for clients here at PFA.

And to think, you can achieve so much for your business without leaving the comfort of your office chair. If you do need some advice, we’re always here to help – call us on 01326 375705.