The fact that marketing research, which is defined as the systematic gathering and analysis of marketing-related data to produce information that can be used in decision making is well known.
It is also not in doubt that marketing research involves following a systematic sequence of steps that will produce reliable and valid data and that through analysis and interpretation the data are transformed into information suitable for decision-making purposes by managers.
Typically, data alone are simply not usable. It is the analysis and interpretation of the data that makes them useful to managers.
Having identified the usefulness of data in decision making, the challenge actually is that most companies still descend heavily on marketing research spend when the issue of cutting cost to stay afloat in business arises especially in an economy that is passing through a phase .
The challenge becomes more worrisome in an economy where revenues for governments and corporate are dwindling.
At present, the Nigerian economy appears to be in a parlous state. The sharp drop in oil revenue for the country coupled with uncontrollable foreign exchange rate regime has widened the gap between the haves and have nots in the society even as it has generally caused shocks and disequilibrium in the system .
The purchasing power of many Nigerians for goods and services has been curbed. Many more Nigerians are unemployed than employed. They now pay higher for electricity either consumed or not.
Suddenly, Nigerians wake up to hear the price adjustment in the cost of a litre of premium motor spirit which went up from N85 to N145. Reactively, unofficially the price of a litre of diesel moved from about N125 to N200. Ditto for kerosene which moved from N80 to N220 per litre. In deed Nigerians are reeling under the weight of such economic challenges to the extent that inflation rate remains at an all time high of 16.5 percent.
In the cacophony of all the factors constraining the purchasing power of average Nigerians, the manufacturing sector and the small scale and medium entrepreneurs also facing infrastructure challenges that impact negatively on their bottom lines, it therefore becomes logical for most companies to want to cut costs in order to remain in business.
But the mistake most boardrooms make is to look in the direction of marketing research when they consider cutting costs but little do they know that marketing research really is the key that unlocks the brands’ life and makes businesses stay alive. It is the dawn of the new era and marketing research is where businesses are now going.
For companies to find out what the consumer wants to do with the economy situation that is emerging, marketing research becomes imperative. And so instead of cutting down budget for marketing research or even expunging it completely, marketing research should be seen as something that cannot be wished away at a time like this.