While ‘Backward’ market research’ may sound oxymoronic it has to be one of the most useful things that I learnt throughout my time at University and I must thank my old lecturer Ben Healey for introducing it to me. Why is ‘Backward’ market research so good? – It is good because is it delivers results, and if market research cannot deliver results it really is a waste of time and money. ‘Backward’ market research was first postulated by Alan R. Andreasen in the 1980′s. ‘Backward’ market research turns the traditional approach to research design on its head and increases the likelihood that the research findings are not only interesting but will lead to actionable conclusions. Alan R. Andreasen in his article published in the Harvard Business Review outlines the backwards approach as follows: 1. Determine how the research results will be implemented (this also helps to define the problem) The first step is the most important step!
The focus here is to identify what the research problem is. Only once the problem has been identified and clearly defined is it possible to proceed onto step 2. Failure to adequately satisfy step 1 will doom the research project to mediocrity. In stage 1 it is important that the manager trusts the researcher and provides the researcher with all the information. Often a manager will have a preconceived notion of what the research problem is. Often after further consultation it can transpire that the research problem may be something quite different to what the manager first thought. 2. To ensure the results will be implemented you need to determine what the final report should contain and how it should look. Management needs to ask itself what the final report should look like. The best way to approach this stage is to work out possible scenarios. This process is helpful as discussion around what the possible results are bound to occur. It is important to frame this stage by remaining focused on what decisions will be made as a result of...
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