How Relentless Quality in Market Research Perfects the Strategic Planning Process

The survival of a business depends on a well-established strategic planning process — and not just for fledgling businesses. Such a process ensures that a business establishes its priorities and correctly focuses its efforts and resources in order to obtain those priorities. 

Businesses should therefore layout a strategic plan — not to be confused with a business plan. Despite the importance of this process, up to 67% of strategic planning failed.

Conducting market research helps a business build an effective strategic planning process, but it must use the proper market research tool.

In the demanding world of business today, market research tools must provide relentless quality in order to sustain a strategic plan.

This article explains the strategic planning process and how a market research platform that provides relentless quality can support this front.

Understanding the Strategic Planning Process

This process denotes the activities that a business performs as part of strategic planning, which is the organizational management activity used to identify priorities, set goals, map out a direction, produce strategies, allocate resources and make decisions to accomplish the goals. 

This process generates the fundamental course that a business will take, along with its various actions, laying out what the business seeks to do, who it will serve and why it does so. It is built with a focus on the long-term.

In the strategic planning process, a business must cover as many bases surrounding itself as possible, including where it currently stands, where it is going and where it seeks to go/ achieve. The strategic plan must therefore include all the actions required to accomplish its goals.

The strategic planning process also includes measuring the effect of activities and whether a business has achieved the kind of results it sought. Thus, it is an exhaustive process that involves strategy, exchanging ideas, testing and implementation.

Essentially, the strategic planning process centers on a catalog of steps that managers must follow to form and implement a strategy within a company. This process aligns the entire company around its main goals and how to execute them. Thus, it is also meant to create transparency, so that no employees are left wondering about the objectives of a company and how to incorporate them into their daily work. 

The Importance of a Well-Executed Strategic Planning Process

It is imperative to establish a solid strategic planning process for a number of reasons. Without clearly established goals and plans, a business would be navigating in completely uncharted and unaided territory

As for the process itself, a business must understand the steps it will need to take to tackle its goals, especially since many of them are mid to long-term goals. The following lists the various benefits of a well-executed strategic planning process:

  1. It sets a clear set of goals and an honest assessment of an organization’s strengths and weaknesses, painting a clear image of a company’s standing and objectives.
  2. It reveals what is most important, relevant and actionable in business, removing the guesswork.
  3. It offers plans on how to achieve its goals, with different ideas that businesses can smartly put to the test. 
  4. It helps companies understand how they can improve their performance
  5. It shows businesses where their biggest challenges lie, whether it is in the business itself or external factors (laws, changing trends, customer behaviors, etc).
  6. It prevents businesses from performing tasks that will yield little to no growth or benefits.
  7. It enables businesses to respond to a change or an issue with preparation, thus lowering stress and the difficulty of handling the unknown.
  8. It fosters and upgrades the technical abilities of your workforce or product.
  9. It aligns employees and shareholders on business objectives and visions.
  10. It determines KPIs, so that businesses can track progress based on data

When to Use the Strategic Planning Process

Strategic planning is an ongoing activity, thus its process should not be applied once. Although mainly used by new companies and startups, strategic planning should be involved at various stages, especially those that are bent on change. 

As for scheduling the process, this will vary based on the needs and occurrences of a business and its external setting, such as a niche, its target market or its competitors. 

The strategic planning process should be regularly carried out in business that operates in a frequently changing industry, such as the SaaS industry, for example. In this case, this kind of process should occur 1-2 times a year.

On the contrary, if a business has existed for a long time and is in a slow-moving market, it can carry out a lesser frequency of one strategic planning process a year, in which only certain parts of the process are updated.

Aside from a new business, businesses should perform strategic planning when taking on any new venture, whether it is an acquisition, a new department, product or branding change.

Businesses that are in an unstable marketplace or one that’s in the mid-range of stability should conduct the strategic planning process at least once a year in preparation for the coming fiscal year. By doing so, businesses can identify the organizational goals to accomplish in the coming fiscal year, along with the resources to obtain the goals and their required funding

In this way, this process is a must for budget-planning. Nevertheless, businesses will not need to complete every step of the process each year, as the full strategic planning process should be conducted at least once every three years. However, as aforementioned, it should be conducted every year when businesses or their external environments undergo massive change. 

Although longtime businesses in stable marketplaces need not conduct this process yearly, they must review it once a year to determine any new action items and whether anything should be discarded.

How Market Research Supports the Strategic Planning Process

Market research is invaluable to the strategic planning process, as it provides a stable foundation for virtually every step of the process. 

This form of research provides insights on a business’s target market and industry at large, the kind of crucial data that supports a vast array of decision-making. 

That is because creating objectives and planning activities around them based on intuition is dangerous and costly. Unfortunately, many businesses do not pay enough attention to their market research data, or any sort of data, as over half of the data businesses obtain goes unused.

This is a major misstep as market research offers relevant information on the heart of a business: it’s consumer base. A strong market research tool can help businesses reap the most updated data on its target market, along with on specific market segments

In this regard, using a primary source of research is superior to conducting secondary research alone, as secondary research may not be fully updated, relevant to a business’s specific needs or involve using questions that a particular business needs to address.

Market research provides the key insights that a strategic planning process needs, as it sets concrete objectives and lays out concrete processes, all of which require time and resources. By gathering and analyzing market research, a business can gain a competitive advantage, one that yields 10 percent in sales growth and higher margins.

A market research survey in particular is a potent way of reaping the kinds of insights that set a strategic planning process in motion. Surveys are versatile and can take various forms, from customer satisfaction surveys like the NPS to employee feedback surveys, to B2B surveys and many more.

They are devised to help businesses understand a number of issues, such as product satisfaction, product needs, opinions, aversions, user experience and much more. Businesses can create them with any sort of questions, spending on the market research platform they use. 

In order to create a disciplined strategic planning process, businesses ought to turn to a market research tool that offers relentless quality. 

How a Platform Offering Relentless Quality Perfects the Strategic Planning Process

Obtaining a market research platform that is built on an approach of relentless quality is difficult to come by. While this may be a tall order, given that there are so many tools marketed as such (but not verbatim), few deliver on this promise.

The Pollfish market research tool, on the other hand, delivers relentless quality, the kind designed to provide a 360-degree assessment of all the factors dictating a strategic planning process. 

Whether a business needs to determine its specific market segments through market segmentation or weed out survey fraud and faulty responses with artificial intelligence, Pollfish offers both and much more

It also uses a sufficient sampling method to gain timely responses in a randomized way to limit survey bias. This method is known as random device engagement (RDE) and it is extremely effective at gaining responses from a target market the natural way, by deploying surveys across a vast network of digital properties that users visit voluntarily. Thus, they are not forced to take a survey or pre-recruited. 

It helps businesses gain intelligence at virtually every aspect of their business in relation to its customers and employees, which in turn helps hammer out reasonable objectives and a market research budget for a strategic planning process.

Additionally, businesses can use the Pollfish platform for the following aspects of their strategic planning process:

  1. Finding funding priorities
  2. Gauging customer-service satisfaction
  3. Discovering new customer needs that can help set off new product launches
  4. Identifying the backbone of strategic goals.
  5. Discovering whether a business needs to change its branding direction

The Pollfish platform allows businesses to gain access into all of these factors and more in a friction-free way, as the platform is user-friendly; there are only three main steps to make your own survey.

The platform manages quality checks to remove any below-par data, such as repetitive answers (flatlining), gibberish answers, VPN use and more. It does so via a machine learning system that cancels out the need for manual quality checks.

It also offers 24-hour support from a dedicated team of market researcher experts. Thus, it is possible to perfect a strategic planning process, so long as it is done with the proper market research tool. Given that the Pollfish online survey platform offers proven relentless quality, businesses ought to look no more and use Pollfish for all their strategic planning needs.