The current worth of the manufacturing industry in the United states is about $5.9 trillion. And while market research is valuable – and frankly, necessary – in all sectors and industries, it is particularly vital in the manufacturing world where costs and consequences of any misinformed decisions can be severe. In some cases, like when it comes to new product launches, entering new markets or acquiring businesses, mistakes can be even catastrophic. The good news is they might be preventable.
Here are seven use cases for how manufacturers can use market research to improve business outcomes.
Many factors can negatively affect production processes – old or outdated technology, steps that are confusing or hard to follow, inefficient workflows or cutting corners – all of which could cost your business time and money.
Employing thorough research of your specific market means you’ll quickly suss out weak points in your production processes. For example, observing workers during the production process could reveal unnecessary steps in the process. Or, you might use competitive market research to discover new technologies or manufacturing methods.
Business is prone to risk, and manufacturing is particularly vulnerable. Faulty products mean revenue loss, and unwelcome surprises concerning compliance could result in hefty legal bills.
Solid market research ensures that you keep abreast of current manufacturing and legal trends. For example: if you employ contract manufacturers, research could point out a way for you to reduce risk by setting up solid, legally binding agreements with your manufacturers that ensure no corners are cut.
While secondary sources such as analyst reports can be useful, there are many cases where customized primary market research is the only way that manufacturers can get real insights about customer experience, new products, product evolution, segmentation, channels, market opportunities, market sizing, and so on.
And remember, your competitors have access to secondary research too. Only you get access to your market research from primary sources.
Sales cycles in B2B manufacturing, especially for large contracts, are relatively long (sometimes several months). To keep your prospects engaged during this nurturing period, you can use insights from in-depth market research to craft marketing materials (buyers guides, impact reports, ebooks, videos, etc.) that will keep their attention until you make that final sale.
Smart consumer research lets you dig deeper to gain insights about the customer journey, their wants, needs, preferences and more. This will serve to not only enrich your current content marketing efforts, but will provide fuel for a greater and more expansive overall marketing strategy.
For example, you might uncover which marketing channels resonate best with your prospects (videos, emails, white papers, blogs, etc.) and what points in the sales cycle are best to reach out.
No manufacturer does the job on their own. Vendors, clients and supply chain partners all play an important role in assembling a product, but also face their own unique challenges which directly affect your production processes.
In-depth, primary market research allows you to understand their pain points, see what isn’t working and presents opportunities to improve specific KPIs such as delivery speed..
We’re living in the middle of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Businesses are innovating faster than ever before. The wealth of opportunities, new trends and new technologies is enormous and market research is the key to unlocking this potential.
By gathering qualitative and quantitative data, manufacturers can discover new applications of smart technologies to answer the needs of customers. This could complement or even improve current products or lead to entirely new product ranges that will positively impact brand and revenue.
Want to see what’s possible with expert market research? Contact us today for a consultation.