Why market research budgets are bigger in 2021

10th Mar 2021

In this pandemic era, connecting to consumers on a ‘human level’ is more important than ever, and demonstrating empathy and understanding with customer concerns and needs is imperative.

This process must start with comprehensive market and consumer research to help inform business strategy and understand exactly how consumer behaviour and expectations have adapted over the course of the very eventful last 12 months. With workforces still distributed, and remote working here to stay for the foreseeable future, it is essential that research and business insights are made available to all departments and workers in a given company, so that there is no misalignment in knowledge or customer acquisition and retention strategies. Getting instant access to all relevant market research at the touch of a button will also go a long way to preventing knowledge silos developing between already distributed workforces and departments.

At Stravito, our research showed that 74% of businesses are boosting their marketing and consumer research budgets this year, to better reach potential customers, and it is certainly the time to invest in the proper capabilities to find out what customers want. 

The research was conducted by independent polling company Censuswide and surveyed 200 business decision makers in large and medium sized UK companies in the last week of December 2020. It also revealed that 76% of business are set to overhaul their customer engagement strategy in response to the disruption and dispersal caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, suggesting that many companies are already anticipating 2021 to be the year that they ‘bounce-back’ from the difficult period caused by the crisis.

Interestingly, we found that 82% of surveyed decision makers agreed that data-driven insights are a top priority for them in 2021, and a staggering 83 per cent agreed that improving communication and relationships with customers will be critical to their business growing this year. Similarly, 72% of the surveyed business decision makers agreed that their company needs to improve its knowledge and research sharing capabilities in order to improve sales in 2021, suggesting just how crucial this information can be.

Market research can be invaluable to a company’s success, as it reveals bespoke insight into consumer behaviour and trends which inform important decisions, saving substantial costs and time in the long run. But only if the research and insights are actually being put to use.

Our research showed one of the main reasons 2020 market research was not being used by businesses is due to the data being rendered outdated by the significant societal changes caused by the pandemic, and many UK companies have admitted to commissioning market research in 2020 which has never been used due to the disruptions and delays caused by Covid-19.

Another reason for unused market data includes the communication difficulties caused by remote working. Businesses have now started to blame remote working for delays and disruptions to product and service launches, forcing some teams to sit on market data for an indetermined amount of time. Additionally, many decision makers in companies are unaware that certain research even exists, rendering it useless or even leading to the same research accidentally being commissioned more than once in the same organisation.

Unfortunately, it can also be expensive, especially for smaller or mid-market enterprises which are already struggling with budget due to the pandemic. Thus, investing in a knowledge management platform that enables secure live access to relevant market research from anywhere in an organisation is essential in preventing wasted research via miscommunication or a lack of coordination between teams or branches in the same company.

The right platform will also allow market research to be utilised by all employees and teams, not just sales executives and marketers, allowing it to be stretched further and become more beneficial to company-wide decision making on both the micro and macro level.

The COVID-19 crisis has shaken up the global economy and left many industries reeling. In this volatile business environment, it is clear that market and consumer research has a crucial role to play across a variety of different sectors. Market research in 2021 will depend not only on a clear understanding of individual markets, including their unique patterns during times like the pandemic and times of high market performance throughout the year. There must be an understanding of consumer resilience and psychographics when the threat of economic insecurity comes about. In order to do this, quality market and consumer research will enable analysts and industry players to keep up to date with the larger picture, and be truly successful in the long run.

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