Exploratory research is all about the unknown. It answers questions and creates more queries. It fuels innovation and creates platforms for new strategies and ideas. It is just the beginning of the mission to establish clarity. The beauty of exploratory market research is that you don’t have to know all (or even most) of the answers going into it; and while it’s true that you won’t have all of the answers when you come out of it, you’ll have a solid base for the next steps in your research.
More food for thought:
1. You can talk (almost) directly to your target audience.
While you’re probably not going to be sitting next to your customer in a focus group room or personally conducting an interview using another medium, you will have the chance to pick their brain. If they say something that surprises or worries you, you have the opportunity to dig deeper.
2. There’s only one person who can tell you what your consumer wants,
and that is (drum roll, please) your consumer.
It may seem like a simple answer, but is one that cannot be ignored.
3. Ask what no one else has been asking.
How can you make the life of your consumer easier? What are pain points? What are the must-haves and nice-to-haves? Where is the white space? Why speculate when you can ask.
4. No opportunity left behind.
You know that feeling that you get when you board your plane and swear that you’ve left something at home? That is exactly what it feels like to go into a quantitative research study or even product development without exploratory research. Take every opportunity to expose all possibilities.
5. The absence of exploratory research can create assumptions and limitations
for future research.
When you conduct research using only what you already know, there are assumptions that may come into play. Exploratory research turns those assumptions into valid hypotheses and provides the opportunity for the creation of more hypotheses.
6. Test and refine before you even enter the quantitative stage.
Developing a new concept or product? Already have some ideas? Why not expose them in the exploratory phase to gain some initial reaction? Use this information to refine the ideas and potentially come up with new ones, all before going into the quantitative phase. It’s all about informed decisions.
7. Use all of your resources: Colleagues, target audience, and research partner.
Conducting exploratory research is essential to your business. But it’s not all about how you get the information – where you get the information is just as important. Partnering with a market research firm that can offer custom industry research maximizes the insights gained from your research. How’s that for ROI?
And the final reason for conducting exploratory research?
8. If you don’t, someone else will.
All in all, exploratory research is all about defining and creating opportunities. It asks questions, gets answers, and allows you to start asking more (directed) questions. This research is so important that its absence could potentially block opportunity.
For what other reasons should exploratory research be utilized?
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