In our blogs posts, we have repeatedly stressed the importance marketing research plays in an organization’s overall strategy. Our marketing tutorials are even more direct in our emphasis on research as we have mentioned it as being the “foundation of marketing” in several tutorials. While conducting research is a critical component of successful marketing, as we note in the Marketing Research tutorial, the results of research should not be used alone in making decisions because these can rarely be considered 100% accurate.
But what research will do is suggest to marketers a direction they may want to investigate. For instance, broad research may uncover an evolving customer trend. Awareness of this trend may then signal that more narrow research is required to see if there is a new customer need that may be emerging or an old need that may be changing. If there is something emerging or changing, then the marketer may consider addressing these, such as designing new products for the new needs, adjusting current products to changing needs, promoting products in new ways, and many others. But even with this, research still needs to be done to make sure any new ideas are truly viable.
An example of a new marketing idea that has been developed based on what may be an evolving trend can be seen in this Fortune story. It discusses how McDonald's is testing new packaging to appeal to more customers who ride their bikes to place orders in the drive-up order lane. The new package allows customers to peddle away with the package hanging from the handlebar. While the article, and accompanied video, talk about this idea being tested in several countries outside the U.S., it likely will not be too long before it shows up in America. Most likely, it will be within urban areas, where the use of bicycles for regular transportation (as opposed to recreational use) is more prevalent. However, it will also require many food outlets to change their drive-up window policy, which often limits service only to customers in vehicles.