Market Research
Market Research

Market Research Strategy in 2020

Crayon, a competitive intelligence platform, shares market research trends in 2020 based on their original data and new data from HubSpot Research.

Ellie Mirman

Chief Marketing Officer

Ellie Mirman headshot

Understanding your market is incredibly important. That knowledge enables you to differentiate your messaging from your competitors’ and draw consumers towards your offering. This is not a new concept; it’s been central to marketing for as long as marketing has existed. 

Recently, the importance of market research has surged, and a few broad trends are the cause. One of the most important elements of market research is understanding where you sit in the competitive landscape. Across nearly every industry, the competitive landscape is heating up. The availability of inexpensive investment capital, the proliferation of scalable technology that fuels growth (like Hubspot), and a strong macroeconomic climate means that it’s easier than ever to create a business and quickly grab market share from incumbents. It’s also easier than ever to ratchet up the volume of marketing messages across mainstay channels like email marketing. 

As markets become more crowded and buyers are inundated with marketing messages, your ability to differentiate and position yourself becomes crucial. This is why the competitive aspect of market research has become so important in the last few years and why so many marketers are starting to incorporate competitive intelligence into their day-to-day.

Knowing all of this, and sourcing our own survey data from our State of Competitive Intelligence Report, and HubSpot's original survey data that you can download below, we identified the following trends:

Market Research is Vital

Hubspot found that 72% of businesses currently perform market research and 80% use that research to make key business decisions. Research performed by Crayon supports that trend, with 89% of businesses reporting quantitative impact of competitive market research.

Measurement is Critical

More than half of businesses plan on increasing their market research budget in the next year.

of companies plan on increasing their market research spend in the next 12 months

Source: HubSpot Research, Global Survey, Nov - Dec 2019

To maximize the impact of this investment, lean into measurement. Businesses with defined competitive intelligence metrics are 2x more likely to see revenue increases stemming from their research. There are several ways to measure the impact of market and competitive intelligence, with revenue and competitive win rate being the most common.

Ad-Hoc is the Enemy 

Hubspot’s research shows that 72% of businesses perform market research but only ~22% plan on performing research this year. This suggests that many businesses still take an ad-hoc approach to their market research. Businesses that regularly research their competitive landscape and update competitive enablement materials are 2x more likely to see revenue increases. The irregularity of many businesses’ approach to market research suggests that businesses are overlooking a significant revenue opportunity.

Keep Using Market Insights for Decision Making

One valuable activity marketers should continue to do in 2020 is to leverage market and competitive insights when making business decisions. Hubspot found that about 80% of companies use the findings from their market research to influence higher-level business decisions frequently.

Our own research confirms not only the trend of frequently leveraging market and competitive insights in shaping business strategy but also the high-level impact that accompanies those informed decisions. Of the 1,000 marketers and competitive intelligence professionals we surveyed, 89% reported that leveraging the competitive research they performed had a positive quantitative impact on their business. 

Researching your market is not a valuable activity if the information you uncover lives in a vacuum. At a strategic level, competitive insights can help leadership teams better understand where gaps exist in the market and shape long-term strategy accordingly. At the tactical level, market and competitive insights can be packaged into enablement materials like battle cards that help salespeople win competitive deals. 

To take this a step further and level up the impact of your competitive market research, make sure you’re measuring your inputs and outputs every step of the way.

Start Defining KPI's for Your Market and Competitive Research

Most marketers relish the opportunity to shower everything with metrics and measure the impact of their work. Unfortunately, most don’t apply this behavior to their approach to competitive research. Crayon’s research found that only 44% of marketers set any kind of KPIs when shaping their competitive intelligence strategies. This is a major missed opportunity since companies with defined competitive KPIs are 2x more likely to see revenue increases stemming from their competitive intelligence activities. 

To get started, measure a few simple metrics like competitive win rate of your sales team (and how that trends as a result of your competitive intelligence research), customer retention and/or NPS score, or engagement with competitive enablement assets you’ve created. Ideal KPIs vary based on the nature of your business but should always tie back to key business goals in some way.

Stop With the Inconsistency

A constant irritation for marketers is how quickly their market can change. New competitors pop up, new marketing channels emerge, buyer expectations shift - marketing has never been static, but it has never evolved so quickly. Hubspot’s findings that ~72% of businesses perform market research but only ~22% plan on performing research this year suggests that many businesses still take an ad-hoc, uneven approach to their market research. 

This is a flawed strategy that marketers should avoid in 2020.

Crayon’s research has found that a higher regularity of 1) performing market and competitive research and 2) parsing out the findings of that research leads to a more consistent business-level impact. Only 29% of marketers who update their competitive research resources on an ad-hoc basis reported seeing revenue impact from their research. On the other end of the spectrum, 68% of marketers who update their competitive resources on a weekly basis saw positive revenue impact.

of marketers who update their competitive resources on a weekly basis saw positive revenue impact.

Source: Crayon Research, State of Competitive Intelligence

A Resource to Head to Next

We at Crayon understand the importance of using data as benchmarks to inform your strategy. If you want to dive deeper into survey data from over 1,000 professionals involved with competitive intelligence, check out our 2020 State of Competitive Intelligence Report.

How are you using market research this year? 

The way marketers perform market and competitive research, in particular, is rapidly evolving. To adapt, make sure you keep an active understanding of your industry, where you stand, and ensure the outputs of your research impacts the goals of marketing, sales, and leadership teams. 

To learn more about the key trends impacting market research and competitive intelligence, download the latest report from HubSpot in the banner below.

Editor's note: This article was researched in December 2019 and January 2020, and was originally published in early February 2020. A lot has changed in the world since then, so keep that in mind as your process these trends and data. 

By Ellie Mirman

Chief Marketing Officer

Crayon, a competitive intelligence platform, shares market research trends in 2020 based off of their original data and HubSpot's state of marketing report.

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