How Relentless Quality in Market Research Perfects the Strategic Planning Process

How Relentless Quality in Market Research Perfects the Strategic Planning Process

Surviving in business depends on a well-established strategic planning process — and not just for new businesses. This ensures that a business establishes its priorities and correctly focuses its efforts and resources in order to obtain them.

Despite the importance of this process, up to 67% of strategic planning fails.

You can build an effective strategic planning process with market research, but you’ll need to use the proper market research tool.

That’s because 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 effort.

Understanding the Strategic Planning Process

This process involves all the activities that your business performs as part of strategic planning, 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 plans the fundamental course that your business should take, along with its actions, while layings out what your business seeks to do, who it will serve, and why it will do so. It is built with a focus on the long-term.

In the strategic planning process, your business must cover as many bases surrounding itself as possible, including where it currently stands, where it is going, where it seeks to go, and what it’s striving to achieve. Additionally, the strategic plan must include all the actions required to accomplish its goals based on this evaluation.

The strategic planning process also includes measuring the effect of its activities and whether your business has achieved the kind of results it sought., It is therefore 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. As such, 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 critical to establish a solid strategic planning process for a number of reasons. Without clearly established goals and plans, your business would be navigating in the completely uncharted and unaided territory

As for the process itself, your 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.
  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 your 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, 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 with 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, therefore its process should not be applied just once. Although mainly used by new companies and startups, strategic planning should be involved at various stages, especially those that are bent on making change. 

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

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

If your 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. This should involve updating in which only certain parts of the process.

Aside from new businesses, all 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 or semi-stable marketplace should conduct the strategic planning process at least once a year in preparation for the coming fiscal year. By doing so, they can identify the organizational goals to accomplish in the coming fiscal year, along with finding the resources to obtain the goals. 

In this way, this process is a must for budget planning. However, 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. As mentioned previously, it should be conducted every year when businesses or their external environments undergo a massive change. 

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

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 your 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 your business: its consumer base. A strong market research tool can help your business reap the most updated data on its target market, along with specific market segments

In this way, using a primary source of research is superior to conducting secondary research alone, as secondary research may not be fully updated, relevant to your 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, your 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 extracting 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 your business understand a number of issues, such as product satisfaction, product needs, opinions, aversions, user experience, and much more. You can create them with any sort of questions, depending on the market research platform they use. 

In order to create a strong strategic planning process, businesses should 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 relentless quality is difficult to come by. While this may be a tall order, given that there are so many tools marketed in this way(but not verbatim), only a 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 involved in a strategic planning process. 

Whether your 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 viable 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, meaning that they are not forced to take a survey or are pre-recruited. 

It helps your business gain intelligence at virtually every aspect of the business relating to its customers and employees, which 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 to 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 uses quality checks to remove any below-par data, such as repetitive answers (flatlining), gibberish answers, VPN use, and more. It does so through 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. As such it is possible to perfect a strategic planning process, as long as it is done with the proper market research tool. Because the Pollfish online survey platform offers proven relentless quality, your business should look no further and use Pollfish for all their strategic planning needs.

Maintaining a Market Research Budget with a Platform of Relentless Quality

Maintaining a Market Research Budget with a Platform of Relentless Quality

While many businesses rely on a set marketing budget, few allocate funds specifically towards a market research budget. This is troubling, as it shows that budgeting for market research is secondary if not completely swept under the rug.

When businesses aren’t heedful to a market research budget, they either fall behind on their market research needs or wind up over-spending — and it shows in the numbers, as businesses spend up to $50,000 on market research alone.  

But does high marketing spend yield considerable profits for businesses? Are they obtaining a steady ROI on their investments? And most importantly, are their market research investments bringing them any value?

This article delves into the market research budget and how a market research platform that offers relentless quality can support it to its maximum potential.

Understanding the Market Research Budget

Despite the importance of market research, many businesses forgo budgeting towards it, which can carry several consequences, including the aforesaid risks of over-spending or ignoring market research in its entirety.

First off, it is crucial to fully understand the market research budget along with its associations.

A market research budget is a portion of designated funds set aside for market research specifically. In regards to its portion aspect, this budget itself is a portion of a marketing budget, which includes all the subsets of marketing, specifically the kinds that are used by a business, as not all businesses will use the same marketing functions.

The following lists several key components of a marketing budget:

  1. Market research
  2. Advertising 
  3. Branding 
    1. Brand tracking, brand equity
  4. Public relations (PR)
  5. Website development and redesign
  6. Website management
  7. SEO and SEM
  8. Content marketing

Market research requires its own budget, given its importance to a business’s success and the various market research techniques, components, tools and methods. Much like with a marketing budget, not all businesses will require all using all the items in this budget.

The following enumerates the key considerations in a market research budget:

  1. Qualitative market research
  2. Quantitative market research 
  3. Syndicated research
  4. Field Research
  5. Focus groups
  6. Interviews
  7. Survey panels
  8. An online survey platform

Market Research Budget Recommendations Vs. Actual Market Research Expenditures

The overall expenditure in a market research budget is chiefly dependent on the business that intends to conduct market research. However, there are still some recommendations and guidelines for setting up a solid market research budget.

Firstly, businesses should design a marketing budget, as this is the encompassing budget that will include all market research plans. As such, businesses should settle on a specific amount to cover all of their marketing-related activities. 

Beginning at the broader marketing budget level, the U.S. Small Business Administration recommends a marketing spend of 7-8% for businesses, that is, if a company has a net profit margin of 10-12% after all expenses.

This recommended range, however, is not the reality for businesses across various verticals. Businesses are allocating between 8-12% of their funds towards marketing, according to a study by the marketing insights firm CMO Survey. 

High-growth technology companies and SaaS businesses in particular, run the highest expenditures, with a whopping 80-120% of their revenue being funneled towards marketing

As far as market research spending in particular, there are specific spending guidelines for different market research assets.  According to, researchers should divide expenditures for projects based on these assets in the following categories: 

Full-Market Reports $1,500 – $8,000, most commonly $3,500 – $4,000)

Product Detail Market Reports $15,000 – $35,000

However, both syndicated research and custom research providers can offer subscription-based services that can run businesses into plans in the tens of thousands. In fact, some market research projects cost up to $100 thousand, with average costs existing in the $35-55,000 range. 

Evidently, businesses spend too much on their market research efforts, exceeding many of the recommendations of a marketing and more specifically, a market research budget.

Unused and Underused Data

Given that the recommendations for a market research budget and the reality of business expenditures do not line up, businesses have to rethink their market research budget. But most importantly, businesses must reconsider their entire market research efforts. 

Why is that? Because while many businesses claim to be data-driven and even go so far as to assert that they use agile data, their data provides very little use. This is because, in an attempt to prove these claims, businesses amass large quantities of data that is left unused

Also known as dark data, most of the data that businesses collect, be it via market research, web analytics or other means, goes unused. 68% of data is not used by businesses who invest in it — that’s over two-thirds of data gone to waste.

But there’s much more to data than the data itself, which is often the result of a market research project. That’s because dark data is a manifestation of wasted efforts. When businesses have two-thirds of underused or unused data, the following has essentially been squandered:

  • Planning
  • Meetings across teams and within departments
  • Finding a market research method
  • Finding a market research tool 
  • Money allotted towards the research
  • Time spent conducting the research
  • Survey data analysis (if the data was slightly used, but not to its full potential)

There is a major disconnect between the data that a business thinks it needs and the data it uses when over two-thirds of data is never looked at or underused. But the chief concern, in this case, is what the point was in actively planning, amassing and retrieving data when most of it goes unused.

Only a market research platform that is heavily focused on the quality of the research can resolve these issues. Therefore, such a platform optimizes all aspects of its market research techniques. 

Relentless Quality to Fortify a Market Research Budget & Remedy Unused Data

A market research provider, such as an online survey platform can avoid poor market research budgeting, gaps in data usage and even the accuracy of the extracted data. But it must provide relentless quality.

Unfortunately, swaths of online survey tools account for the 68% of dark data (percentage of unused data) that they provide for businesses. These platforms are not all designed to suit a market research budget, especially their enterprise plans, which can run for thousands of dollars a month. 

Effectively, the patrons of these market research providers are spending thousands on their data a month and exceeding maximum expenditures on research budget guidelines — all while abandoning 68% of their data.

In turn, dark data goes beyond exhausting the funds in a market research budget, as it creates damage in an overall market research campaign. This damage to market research includes:

  1. Inaccurate and bias-riddled data
    1. This is because researchers must analyze all of their data, certainly not just 32% of it.
  2. An enlarged margin of error
  3. Being a poor representation of a target market with no basis for statistical significance
  4. An incapability of making informed predictions and perform prospective research
  5. Difficulty to take action or make changes

When a survey platform or other market research provider offers an approach with relentless quality, it can avoid and overcome all of these obstacles. Thus, such a platform can avoid unused data and a waste of time, money, resources, et. al.

A platform that offers relentless quality brings first-rate quality to all aspects of the research process — from a massive network of publisher sites and apps to the dashboard of the platform, to the way the data is collected and presented. 

When all points of the research provide optimal quality, researchers and the businesses they work for are not left wondering what went wrong, which answers are faulty, why it takes a long time to aggregate the data and more

Thus, researchers can set up a market research budget properly and actually be able to adhere to it without compromising the quality of their research. 

Deciding on a Market Research Platform that Provides Relentless Quality

When opting for a market research provider, businesses ought to turn to a provider that offers relentless quality through a number of ways. The Pollfish platform delivers on the promise of relentless quality.

First off, businesses can maintain a market research budget while performing various campaigns, as the Pollfish platform is one of the most affordable ones in the online survey platform niche.  

The platform deploys surveys in a vast network of top online sites and apps and does so with a mobile-first agile data approach. Businesses, therefore, gain quick results even when distributing surveys to a large sample size, such as one with thousands of respondents.

The data is processed with artificial intelligence and machine learning to avoid survey fraud, biases, low-quality answers, the margin of error and other issues that mar the quality of the data. Thus, the data itself is of a high quality.

It is presented on a user-friendly dashboard that makes it easy to interpret the data. Thus, this is going to be seen as less of a chore that market researchers put off… and off, indefinitely. Researchers can also integrate Pollfish with other SaaS providers should researchers prefer to consolidate their data analysis. 

When the data is quickly extracted, avoids faulty respondents and is easy to deploy and use, businesses are naturally more likely to use it. Thus the Pollfish platform offers an augmented survey experience, one that suits many market research budgets and campaigns at large.

Frequently asked questions

Why is having a market research budget important for businesses?

A market research budget should be derived from an overall marketing budget because a lack of research may lead to overspending or inefficient allocation of resources.

What are some key considerations in a market research budget?

The key characteristics of a market research budget include expenditures in qualitative research, quantitative research, field research, focus groups, interviews, survey panels, and online survey platforms.

How should businesses set up a market research budget?

First, determine the overall marketing budget because research would go under this banner. Next, identify your objectives. Know what kind of information you need, if it's proactive or reactive, and who gets to use this info. After that, study available market research and reports to see if they fulfill your informational needs. And finally, report these findings to the decision-makers to prioritize market research as one of their financial goals for the upcoming year.

What are the consequences of unused data in market research?

Unused data may lead to inefficient planning, money wasted on market research, and unnecessary meetings. It may even skew research results causing further damage. Therefore, businesses should know the difference between knowing how much data they need and how much data will be left unused once they've used it.

What should businesses consider when deciding on a market research platform?

A robust online survey platform should offer a myriad of features and draw out quality data. Moreover, it should be fully customized for the questionnaire and screener, deploy the survey to intended individuals, seamlessly filter the data once the survey is completed, and leverage artificial intelligence to carry out quality checks that eradicate poor quality data. The platform should also provide valuable customer data and insights with several easy-to-use question formats, advanced skip logic, RDE, mobile-first design, etc., enabling a business to make data-driven decisions.