Why do Research

Business decisions have to be made on a day to day basis. Sometimes the course of action is obvious and no sleep is lost in the decision making process. At other times however, many hours are spent debating the pros and cons of the various choices and no matter how hard you look, it is a hard to make the call. Unfortunately most decisions have some sort of risk attached to them. The good news is that the more information you have, the lower the risk.

It would be great if we could have perfect information all the time. Then all our decisions would carry zero-risk and we would be guaranteed to succeed. Reality though is far from this ideal. Information certainly reduces risk but nowadays we can sometimes have available to us more information than we can deal with. This can generate chaos, confusion, and a feeling of drowning. The seeds of success lie in having the right information of the quality and quantity required to make educated decisions.

Knowing what you need to know is vital. Specifying precisely what information you need is the first step in good decision making. Ask the wrong questions and you get the wrong answers. Wrong questions and irrelevant information generate confusion, chaos and ultimately misinformed decisions - the seeds of failure.

Before making decisions you need to decide what information is needed to make a particular decision. Then ask yourself, can you realistically get the information? How long will it take? How much will it cost? Can you afford it? Is it worth it or is some information more important than other information?

There are many different sources of data that can provide managers with the information needed to make the right decisions. The most readily available in most organizations is internal data such as sales reports, customer profiles, costs analysis, etc. Although this information is easy to obtain, it is not always in a format that is useful to the manager. Time must be taken to organize the data so that it provides useful information. Looking further afield, external information covers the marketplace and looks at market size, structure, trends, opportunities and threats. It also looks at how consumers behave. These things are constantly changing and sources are wide and varied.

Without doubt, information used in the right way is a powerful marketing tool. Accurate, relevant information can create competitive advantage. It helps marketers make better decisions. But beware, the corollary is also true: inaccurate, irrelevant information is dangerous.

So information reduces risk but costs time and money. Consider whether the information is worth more than it costs? How important are the decisions which it will affect?

It is often said that 'Information is power' - do you agree?

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Could you increase your sales with better market intelligence?