How many meetings start (or end?) with the question "what do we have for data". Many well-intentioned marketing programs are devised and implemented based on internal assumptions or worse yet hopes!
As we discussed in Positioning and Branding, the internal view is but one half of the story.
Your brand is defined by your customers so it is critical to periodically check in with them to measure how you are doing.
Visiting or calling on existing customers is a popular proxy for doing real research. And it's a poor one at that.
Since existing customers are likely to be positively predisposed to you, (or directed to you by the sales team) and will give you only a slightly more complete view than your internal presumptions.
Another common fault is depending solely on research that is provided for free by your suppliers. Their data too is often biased by a relatively narrow customer list (their readers) and their questions devised to display their products in the most positive light possible.
For these reasons we often suggest that proprietary research be conducted before committing large spends on new programs. Utilizing the resources at Merrill Research located in the heart of Silicon Valley; we can tap into their 25 years of experience in the research industry and their state of the art technology for qualitative and quantitative research.
TMC will tailor a research program that meets your needs and budget and will provide direction and participate in every phase of the study.