As a firm specializing in market research and data analysis through surveys, feasibility studies, polls, among others, we hope to bring valuable insights through today’s article as we focus on the importance of research in making business decisions.
Business fundamentals today have significantly changed. With the dynamism in the business environment, decision making is no longer just about how the senior person wants things done. The importance of conducting market research for any business can no longer be taken for granted anymore. Onkemetse Ofitlhile, a Strategy Developer and Lead Researcher consultant at a local communications agency reiterates that decision-making in business should be informed by research. Businesses should know every detail of their customer to be able to serve them better and surveys can avail such detail.
Demographics are critical because they help you define your target market. Consequently, it allows you to capture their attention through your marketing message because you speak directly to their needs using their own language. You cannot just throw a product out there and expect sales when you do not know whom you are targeting. Demographics include age, gender, marital status, income level, employment status, and so on.
Some products are very sensitive to the demographics, such that each category would need a specific design of the same product. A company that manufactures bicycles, for instance, has to segment its market into different categories such as toddlers, teenagers, adults, sports, leisure, and the like. This is how different models and designs of cycles have been made to meet the needs of each category. International cycle brands like Trek have then decided to specialize on a certain category hence they dominate the sports segment as the most preferred cycle in major cycling tournaments. Another example closer home is how Foods Botswana has developed soya sorghum products for different age groups e.g. Tsabana for children up to 3 years, Malutu for all age groups above 3 years and Tsabotlhe for adults.
Competition and market trends
It is important for a business to keep an eye on its competitors. Ofitlhile who works in a highly competitive and innovative environment of public relations and communications consultancy confirmed that businesses should do competitor research to establish the market trends and identify gaps to be filled in.
In Botswana, the government is the major contributor of business to the private sector, and consequently research is vital for informing budget or tender allocation. The government data collection agency, Statistics Botswana (SB) conducts periodical research on different aspects of the economy such as education, agriculture, tourism, and mining. In line with this, the 2022/23 budget showed a combined budget allocation of P 13.13 billion for basic and tertiary education, research, science, and technology which continue to be the highest (22% of the overall budget) to drive the country’s transition to a knowledge-intensive and competitive-based economy (Grant Thornton).
In his research paper titled the Information Sources for Public Policy Making in Botswana, Dr Batlang Serema identified and discussed information structures for public policy making in Botswana. He confirms that data repositories like registries, libraries, central statistics office, and research units play a significant part in policy formulation. Such research has given birth to policies such as the Citizen Economic Empowerment Policy.
We hope that this article was insightful and that it demonstrated to some extent the importance of market research or data in decision-making whether in the private or public sector. As your preferred market research partner, let us help you make business sense out of your data.
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