Business Times

Market research needed to minimise risk and uncertainty in markets

By Quintus Perera

Market research exists to minimize the risk and uncertainty in the market which involves the inter-play of supply and demand that affects business results.

Dwelling on this theme, Hilmy Cader, CEO, MTI Market Research explained the context at a ‘Round Table’ to Sri Lankan Media held in Colombo this week quoting the words of James T Adams, thus: “Any astronomer can predict with absolute accuracy just where every star in the universe will be tonight. (But) He can make no such prediction about his teenage daughter”.

Mr Cader who commenced his market research (MR) activities 14 years ago has based his market research on a new concept and approach and today his research network is fully operational in Bhutan, Dubai, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, while associated with 40 countries.
The MTI client base expands to 400 and builds up experience of MTI Consultancy in the areas of Consumer Products, Financial Services, Telco and Technology, Conglomerates and Family owned groups, Government and NGOs, Manufacturing and Services.

He said that MR is important for Sri Lanka as there dawns unprecedented opportunity with attendant global challenges. He said that there is the need for effective insights and intelligence for decision making.

He said that MR could play an important role in assimilating business challenges in assessing greater choice in brands, products, media, channels and financing. There are challenges on new ‘social operating’ platforms and greater challenges are in every facet of life where confusion, chaos and change prevail.

He said that there are changing perceptions and attitudes on ethics, governance, conflict, environment, individualism, social integration and lifestyle. His way of MR approach is the changing of buying hierarchy and the changing of buying and usage drives. He says frugality is ‘fashionable’, while value is in ‘vogue’.

Mr Cader said that adopting emerging best practices, research could be a part of marketing accountability that could be used to assess opportunities and risks. He said market research should be linked to the Profit and Loss Account and the Balance Sheet where greater accountability and transparency could be ensured.

He said that the conventional research practices on the market behaviour usually based on a huge questionnaire but going on the emerging best practices the approach is to start with a single minded hard question, a one page essence as deliverable.

Dealing with research effectiveness, the business-link the research should get the product/services across to the customer on a matrix that optimizes, convenience, costs and competition. Driving home is point he gave a classic example of a Bhopal based, Indian newspaper ‘Dainik Bhaskar. He said that its status in 1996 was 350,000 copies sold only in Madya Pradesh.

At that point of time the strong brands were English based and the vernacular press was highly fragmented, slow growth and reading habits did not change easily. The paper intended to be the market leader and to revolutionize the newspaper industry with radical disruptive innovations.

Mr Cader said that acting on this determined intended premise in 2004 their circulation shot up to 3.5million copies per day and spread over six Indian States, in two languages and emerged as one among the 25 dallies in the world. In 2009 the circulation was 4.4 million in multi languages. He said that in eight years, Dainik Bhaskar achieved what the top 10 newspapers have taken a century to achieve.

He said that this newspaper achieved this feat by understanding the readership habits, in finding out what is lacking in their paper and what the readers like to read and see. He said that the readers were made part of the product development team.

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