In my research experience from 2006 in Cambodia, I met a lot of local business owners and marketing managers to talk about their research needs. Many times, I heard them say they don’t have a lot of budget, or even do not have any budget at all. Sometimes, I was asked to submit a proposal but they turned it down and said the cost is over their budget. Some businesses use their internal staff to conduct some market research for them in order to save money. However, I noted that most companies that I met spend a lot money in advertising and promotion. I think this is because they believe that advertising and promotion help them to generate more sales, which I agree also is true. However, this makes me think also that there might be a lack of understanding of how useful market research is for them in long-term business, and can make their advertising and promotion efforts more effective.
Most marketing experts consider market research not actually an expense, but rather an investment if carried out properly by research professionals, who can deliver non-biased data. I have been thinking about this and found that it is in fact a really good investment. Businesses should be encouraged to make investment in market research before they spend their money on market expansion, product development, advertising and promotion, introducing new products and even recruiting new staffs. Multi-national companies spend a lot of money on market research before they make any of these decisions. Market research can especially help companies to be more competitive and to take action faster than competitors, as they can forecast the future trends.
I believe the management teams of every company need market information in order to make the right decision. You can imagine what will be the end result if the management team of a company makes a decision to take their product to a province where there is no demand for that product. The end result will be a loss of money, plus a loss of time and effort also. But if the management team in the company knows that there is no demand, they would decide not to expand. This is why market research is needed. There are a lot of examples to support the idea that market research is not really an expense for the company, but an investment instead because people who invest in it will get a good return.
In conclusion, business owners should use market research supplied by market research professionals who can make sure you will receive the data you need in a non-biased manner. The market research professional can also give you some recommendations going forward, based on findings from their research that you can use. You can find research professionals from a simple online search or in Business Directories; however, make sure you ask for some references before deciding to select one company to do market research for you. Pricing alone should not be the most important criteria you use to select a market research company.
By Mr. Phoung Vuthy, Managing Director of MRTS Consulting Ltd.
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