Research is a fundamental part of the business in today’s world. The problem is that outsourcing a
business’s research needs can seem like a huge expense, especially for small businesses. So, in
order to save money, many entrepreneurs make the decision to do this in-house. Again, this
comes with a huge list of problems.
In-house business research can lead to worthless finding or worse, misleading facts that end up harming the business.
The reason is that trying to research in-house turns into a lengthy Google search rather than
a sound, scientific business research approach.
There is a huge difference in the quality of data that the scientific method brings. In my opinion, this is one of the best areas to delegate because of quality, but if you’re keen to try it yourself then here are some factors that separate a scientific approach from an overly-dignified Google search.
Starts with a Clearly Defined Goal
The scientific method starts with a specific question and then attempts to answer it. This process
is going to be different depending on the question. In short, the question itself determines how
data will be analyzed and the entire methodology of the study.
The problem is that traditional business research looks at all problems the same way, so their approach is always the same. It becomes a fishing expedition that looks to answer vague questions like “What are the best sales
The scientific approach researchers to uncover answers to more defined questions like “How do
our sales numbers compare to the conversion of prospects?” It produces answers that are much
more actionable and unbiased.
Wording is Neutral
Creating surveys is a great way to conduct marketing research. The scientific approach ensures
that the language used in important surveys is neutral. One of the most common mistakes that a
lot of businesses make is they word surveys in a way that “telegraphs” a specific answer. While
this might lead to more positive responses and make you feel all tingly inside, it’s always better
to hear the truth, no matter how ugly it might be.
Research is Controlled
The scientific business research will try to test different key points one at a time in an effort to
screen out effects by other changes. This is known as “controlled” as it controls the factors not
being studied. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “control group” in many major research models.
The control group remains neutral.
This type of control is not quite as easy to achieve in business research, which is likely the cause
of so many failed studies attempted in-house.
For example, if a business makes a change and then experiences an increase in sales then what was the cause of that increase? Without seasonality being controlled, that increase might have nothing to do with the change itself, but
The scientific method will put controls in place to keep this sort of thing from happening.
Not every statistic measured during market research is going to have a meaning. Nearly all
business problems will vary so statistics might not be accurate in certain circumstances. That’s
why asking specific questions is so important. Stats are great testing for the significance of a
change. The traditional approach will overreact to statistics.
For example, we often see companies panic when they experience a drop in sales over a specific period of time. That drop could be the result of many things, including factors completely out of a business’s control. But overreactions lead to making major changes within the company, leading to more problems in the long-term.
My point with this post is to express just how important it is that a company performs scientific
business research rather than traditional.