Market Research In Recessionary Times

Posted on 14. Nov, 2008 by in iGrok Research

Obama will be in the White House, Democrats will hold sway in the Legislature, GM is teetering, banks are consolidating and sitting on their funds (not lending), American Express decides it wants to be a bank, home values have dropped precipitously. AIG and others are receiving huge emergency cash infusions and want more, and consumer spending, at retail in particular, has screeched to a halt. This 2008 traditional holiday spending season will likely be extraordinary in terms of consumers holding back.

What does this mean for the market research industry? What should it mean?

Market research will likely fall in priority for companies’ spending. Those companies in more recession-resistant industries will still want to know what consumers want, and will want to conduct research to continue to map the lay of the land.

In contrast, start-ups, business-to-business marketers, and smaller companies will likely move market research to the bottom of their priorities. The Professor has spoken personally to many of these in this fourth quarter of 2008, and they view market research findings as something they would like to have but cannot afford.

But perhaps this is precisely the time when a company that finds its ship heading for the rocks could benefit from a modest investment in market research to understand what their customers want, how to “ease their pain”, and how to help them through troubled times. The return on investment could be significant. Sales pitch warning – we at C.A. Walker suggest that we can bring our wealth of experience to maximize that return – we’re not just research technicians, we’re marketing consultants as well.

The Professor has been urging clients to consider the ROI on modest research expenditures as a hedge against the current economic tides.

He would be interested in your thoughts in these times (supposed Chinese curse, no one can agree on the source, “May you live in interesting times”). The Professor felt compelled to include that.

To contact The Professor, email Dr. Kevin Gentry, Group Vice President at C.A. Walker Research Solutions.

    The Professor has a doctorate in Social Psychology from the University of Southern California, and has been practicing market research for many years.

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