You probably agree that market research is a necessary activity for any major company, but its cost has often been open to question. In many cases, it’s not the cost of specific research projects, but the validity of the projects themselves, that needs to be evaluated.
Many companies engage in extensive research activity, often including legacy studies that have been carried out for years. But how impactful is your current research program overall, and how relevant to the current needs or strategy of your enterprise? Are you really making the best use of limited funding?
One way to do this is through a research audit. A research audit is a proprietary evaluation of your entire research activity to answer these questions objectively, with the aim of providing a set of recommendations to maximize the ROI of research spend.
The audit process includes trained professionals working directly with marketing and research department heads, as well as the other internal stakeholders who use, and may even by funding, research and insights activity. The outside auditors outsiders can address these issues from a rational, cost-benefit perspective, not by challenging current practices, but helping to align expenditures with larger strategic objectives and the actual use of the findings received.
For example, while tracking studies may be a valuable source of information, they may not need to be conducted as often, or as extensively, as they currently are. As another example, similar efforts funded by different departments might be combined to avoid duplication.
In addition, the audit may uncover ways in which findings, insights, and conclusions can be communicated more effectively, disseminated more widely, and incorporated more deeply in decision-making.
It might also reveal that investing in newer methodologies or sources of information that could meet the same objectives more efficiently.
Audits are a relatively inexpensive way of maximizing the ROI of research spend and gain buy-in from the various corporate stakeholders, including the ever-vigilant finance department.
If you have any interest in learning more about corporate research audits, please call us.