“Put a Number on It” (What Market Research Means for Your Brand)

Many market research projects begin with a simple request: “Can we get a number on that?” Though few of us have advanced degrees in math, marketers are used to dealing with a lot of numbers. We set numeric goals, evaluate sales figures, review market research data, and report on metrics. We’re not accountants, but we can spend a lot of time in Excel.

When it comes to market research, numbers are of prime importance. Custom research does not typically just present facts and figures without a previous guess as to how those numbers will turn out. On the contrary, often market research exists to confirm an intuition someone already has: confirming the size of a market with a dollar amount, or putting a percentage on a growth trajectory a company has already experienced. Very often as a researcher, my job is to put a number on a trend our partner already guesses is real.

This might sound like devaluing market research, but it’s quite the contrary. All research—even in the most rigorous, scientific forms—starts with a hypothesis, a guess about what you might find. If you are an experienced researcher, or just well versed in your industry, your instincts are probably right. But in market research, we test those instincts for the same reason that scientific researchers do: rigorous testing, establishing numbers and metrics, provides the confidence you need to make investments or pursue future research.

In short, when you have a number on your (probably correct) instinct, you can act with greater confidence. You can make arguments for new budget items, or for pushing toward a new market. You can even use them to reinforce your customer-facing marketing, in the right segments. Market research numbers are a powerful resource that ought to support all aspects of a brand’s work. They aren’t just neutral facts; they’re tools to help you do your work.

Not all market research providers approach their work this way, of course. If you’re getting your insights from many major providers, you are likely getting a lot of numbers (perhaps more than you need) that may or may not address your existing concerns and instincts about the industry. These findings may be factual, but without context they may not be useful in confirming your instincts or supporting your projects—they’re the results of an experiment you weren’t running, and so they may not answer your real questions.

At MarketPlace, we approach market research with your goals and questions at the front of our minds. This ensures that the numbers we find actually answer your questions and help you meet your goals. We do indeed give you the facts—we use approved data-gathering and statistical methods, following industry standards—but we also ensure they actually answer a question you’re asking instead of merely providing decontextualized and potentially irrelevant data points. Like a good researcher in the lab, we use careful testing and solid methods not just to find random data points but to answer a real and pertinent research question.

Do you have a new market you’d like to test? A sales presentation that could use some data-driven support? If you need to put a number on your hunch or establish a trend line for your market, get in touch. We’d love to talk through what data you might need and how we can help you find it.

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