What are the Top Use Cases for Market Research? & Research Frameworks

The top use cases for market research were identified to include thought Leadership: PNC “Perspectives of Retirement,” Market Entry Study into Emerging Markets, competitive profiling, and Improving Sales through Emotional Consumer Connection. The research team identified the Research Funnel, ResearchOps, and Double Diamond as examples of research frameworks.

Top Use Cases for Market Research

1. Thought Leadership: PNC “Perspectives of Retirement”

  • PNC Bank intends to get original insights on public attitudes and behaviors through thought leadership research.
  • PNC Bank’s goal in this research is to elevate the visibility of its thought leadership position regarding retirement financial services. The bank utilizes the research to raise its profile, support internal training, and create marketing collateral.
  • The means to realize the goal is conducting thought leadership research. The research starts with preliminary analyses whose design is to create a stronger platform for public surveys.
  • One preparatory analysis creates a white space analysis to identify open opportunities and critical tools in succeeding with thought leadership research.
  • The second preparatory analysis is in-depth qualitative research using the motivation research approach to isolate emotional aspects that deserve attention in the studies that follow.
  • The organization continues national surveys to add opportunities for more insights with special survey add-ons to examine major concerns and target audience modifications that establish new types of comparisons.
  • The research then expands to adults of all financial means to allow for assessments among households with wide differences in means and retirement preparation in the market. The survey draws out key inconsistencies in market expectations regarding expectations on retirements.

2. Market Entry Study into Emerging Markets

3. Competitive Profiling

  • SIS International Research’s competitive profiling is a top use case for market research. The case involves finding out the market perception about key players.
  • The competitive profiling case intends to look at how an organization compares to the spectrum of competitors across major segments, characteristics, products, or services.
  • The challenge in the SIS International competitive profiling case was identifying key players’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as the market’s key characteristics, such as fragmentation and level of competition.
  • The methodology used in the company profiling case included secondary research. The SIS key intelligence topics included messaging perceived, marketing channels, market characteristics, market size, and technologies.
  • Based on the research, SIS recommends that a company pays attention to acquisitions outside of the envelope sector. Another recommendation is on expanding an organization’s operations.

4. Improving Sales through Emotional Consumer Connection

Examples of Frameworks for Research

1. The Research Funnel

  • The Research Funnel framework is attributed to consultant Emma Boulton. She was a research leader focused on developing a practice around research operations.
  • The framework funnels down exploratory research aspects from the very broad, more foundational aspects to the precise, constricted, and optimization-focused function of operational research.
  • The modes/types of research in the Research Funnel framework include exploratory, strategic, tactical, and operational.
  • Organizations conduct exploratory research to explore new markets. Exploratory research shapes the problem space, defining markets. The research has a broad scope, and it is entirely product-agnostic.
  • Strategic research is problem-focused and is meant to discover unmet needs. This mode of research happens in the context of the prevailing problem space.
  • Tactical research is solution-focused and aims at exploring and validating solutions to a known problem. It happens frequently in the context of existing opportunities as part of present development efforts by teams.
  • Operation research is optimization-focussed, and it is purposed to evaluate and optimize the chosen solution. The mode of research occurs more frequently for monitoring and improving upon recent development efforts in the current opportunity’s context.
  • The Research Funnel framework allows for seeing how different research activities across the organization service various strategy and decision-making aspects; from the broad and foundational to the specific and narrow.

2. Double Diamond

  • The Double Diamond model conceptually illustrates the need for defining the research problem and the importance of divergent thinking.
  • The framework identifies strategy and execution as two key components of the research design process. Strategy focuses on a foundational understanding of customers and the problem space to allow for redefining the fundamentals as necessary.
  • The execution part of the model focuses on a narrow and exactly defined problem to tactfully deliver the desired solution.
  • In this framework, the design process follows four steps, including product strategy, defining the problem, identifying a solution, and incremental delivery.
  • Defining the problem allows for understanding and focusing on the exact nature of the problem to be solved.
  • The Double Diamond framework allows for clear articulation of the problem, who is impacted, when and how to work around the said problem.

3. ResearchOps

  • The ResearchOps framework results from data from more than three hundred response surveys and insights from 33 workshops.
  • ResearchOps provides mechanisms and strategies required to set the user research in motion. It provides researchers with a mechanism for conducting safe, legal, and ethical research.
  • The framework provides roles, the right tools, and processes at the right time and scale to support researchers in delivering and scaling the effect of the craft across an organization.
  • ResearchOps covers the eight pillars of user research, including environment, scope, recruitment and admin, data and knowledge management, people, organizational context, governance, tools, and infrastructure.
  • ResearchOps ensures that knowledge obtained through research findings is relevant, understandable, and contextualized. It follows a map-like structure that shapes aspects of the research practice.
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