Simple Advice from a Market Research Specialist
“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie
Principal Keri Hammond, FSMPS, CPSM, applies this quote to the fear professionals have about the most crucial industry task, market research. As all knowledgeable industry professionals recognize, market research provides the greatest value to your long-term marketing strategy. But she’s concerned by how many A/E/C professionals seem to fear it.
“The thing that firm leaders need to remember is that market research happens all the time,” Keri says. Talking to clients, competitors and industry vendors, whether current or potential, is a big part of market research that firms do regularly without realizing it’s considered the best form of market research. “Just documenting those conversations, reviewing them, and analyzing the information is what makes it useful, valuable information.” she relates.
Talking to owners and end users within the A/E/C community is just one facet of market research. “Showing your clients that you understand their industry is essential to examining their respective markets,” Keri states. There is no need to panic; professionals uncover useful tidbits of information in everyday discussion.
It isn’t just about looking at what a firm’s clients are doing, but also what their clients/users are doing. “As a marketing company, our entire objective is to do the research and come back to our client with recommendations: ‘here is how you can provide value to your client,’” she iterates.
Keri’s advice to getting over the fear? “Recognize that you’re already doing it,” she says as she elaborates more on a beginner’s recipe for market research. “Strategize the questions you need information about, analyze the information you receive, and then look at the same question across the board to determine the trends. Your clients want to help you, and you’ll be surprised to hear what they say.”
To get you started, here are Keri’s top five market research questions:
- How do you see your industry changing in the next 3-5 years?
- How are A/E/C firms responding well to your needs? How can A/E/C firms improve their service to you?
- What is your 3-5 year projected budget and capital development wish list?
- What are the three most important characteristics you value in an A/E/C firm?
- What keeps you up at night when thinking about your design/construction needs?
And there you have it: Market research. No fear necessary. Just go out and get busy.