Research Your Research
Make sure the research you base your business decisions on is as good as it can be. Recently, a client company of ours was looking for information and mentioned to us how he’s seen a lot more researched coverage of the security industry than ever before.
Apparently, a research consolidator is assembling secondary security research and reselling it to companies on a subscriber basis. Another organization is compiling secondary information and conducting a few telephone interviews.
Our company is a major contributor of new information to the press and trade associations, and we now find ourselves helping new competitors understand and profit from the industry without making their own investments. What to do?
Even after being in business for 20 years, we’re still opting for the quality approach to serve our customers. We take no shortcuts. In our view, it’s the only answer. In life, some things are inevitable, like knowing that people are smart enough to know quality for themselves. And if they’re fooled once, it’s not likely that they will be fooled again.
That’s why it’s important to analyze the research you obtain by asking questions like:
Is the research original? – Obtain the most current information from interviews and surveys
Is the research secondary? – Has the research been copied from existing and dated sources?
If it’s original, how statistically reliable is it? – Was the data taken from people or companies who are substantial and major players in your market?
Is a confidence level even mentioned? – Make sure the numbers add up and are accurate.
Is the sampling technique mentioned? – Are the statistical numbers representative of what is actually taking place in the marketplace?
Is the range of error shown? -This is an important factor to determine the accuracy of information. Political polls on TV always show in plus and minus form the percentage points of possible error because TV networks are legally held to what they report.
Does the report explain niche markets? – Businesses are not run on averages; they’re run on strategies. The difference between a mean and a median is not just a statistic. It can tell you that a niche market exists for a product.
How about market shares? – Make sure to ask about how they’re derived.
Who contributed to the industry forecast? – Statistical analysis is an amazing tool with hundreds of uses. Like showing politicians what to say and how to get elected, statistical analysis provides insight on the type of new products a manufacturer needs to build its business, the type of vertical user markets, which have the greatest potential, and how good factory quality control is at a company.
The difference between good statistical analysis and old numbers that reflect yesterday’s picture is critical. You want good numbers that can sit up and talk business rather than make you fall asleep.
So let’s just say that we are all trying our best to put out a good product and support it with our reputations. This is how people know us, by not faking it. Does it cost a little more? Never. When you do your market planning and get ready to invest your company’s resources based on what you believe are solid market facts, then the quality of that information should better be on the mark.
When industries become popular, they draw new competitors, which is what the electronic security industry is experiencing at this time. There’s nothing wrong with increased competition. It’s just that you may have to be more discriminating between quality research that can pinpoint decision-making to other information that can mislead company efforts and invested resources against true growth targets.
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