The importance of marketing research in a strategic planning exercise
Today’s organizations are faced with the complexity of markets, globalization of the competition and the increasing speed of technology development. Strategic planning allows the business to guide its decisions and actions towards long-term growth. The planning exercise includes an internal audit that allows for the examination of all of the activities of the business. However, the internal audit constitutes only one part of the situation analysis exercise.
Since the business does not evolve in a vacuum, marketing research is an indispensable tool for analyzing the current situation. In fact, it is necessary for any business to regularly survey its clients in order to obtain up to date information on their expectations, needs, perception and satisfaction regarding the business’s products and services. The methodology employed depends on the number and the importance of the clients. For example, if the business has many small clients, as is often the case for B2C businesses, the online survey is probably the best method to maximize cost-benefit.
In one of the last online surveys conducted for a professional order, the analysis of the results showed that many members were not clearly aware of the mission of the organization, which created a group of dissatisfied individuals who had expectations inconsistent with the mission of their professional order. It was quite a revelation for the management!
A good strategic planning process therefore includes a client survey in order for the management team to obtain an overview of the current situation and to draw up an optimal action plan for the coming years.