Marketers, don’t follow your consumers blindly

While market research is integral to the success of any marketer’s strategy, it doesn’t always paint the full picture.

“Sometimes the consumer doesn’t know what he (or she) wants. And if he doesn’t know what he wants, market research cannot give you the answer. Hence, in some cases product launches and campaigns should be executed completely by a marketer’s instinct. Marketers still need to lead consumers,” said Mukesh Kumar, (pictured) head of marketing for the Maggi India light meal business for Nestlé India, at Marketing magazine’s recent Research Asia Interactive conference.

Kumar explains this is because traditionally, market research is a tool to understand consumers in their present situation and past experiences. It does not look forward. Kumar says today the best market research can only be done when paired with competitive analysis.

While market research is the science of marketing, competitive analysis is the art which studies the business environment.

“Today both are extremely important, the thing is to hit the sweet spot. We need to map the competitor environment and keep an eye on our competitor landscape. With e-commerce making a play, the competitive landscape has completely changed.”

Kumar also added that with rapid technological shifts, competitive analysis today is a task for everyone in the organisation. Companies can no longer afford to limit the task to designated research teams. Those on the ground need to be just as equipped to understand the market and the competitive landscape.

Ultimately, this leads to the need for better talent in the organisation and the need to build talent with deep industry knowledge.

“Market research and analysis needs to be done with the right context in mind. Your employee needs to be able to read and interpret the data and convey this to the teams to build the right tools needed for the evolution of the research methodologies. The key to success is constant evolution.”