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Monday, 9 November 2009

Are you sure you still know your customer?

The article below was written by Philip Mitchell-Taverner, Managing Director Taverner Research, and is the first thought leadership piece in an ongoing series of articles, stories and general industry information pieces.

So much has been written about the Global Financial Crisis it can be overwhelming and, if you are not careful, confusing. At times like these, carefully selecting reputable organisations, publications and authors to inform you is a smart survival strategy. I hope you see Taverner Research as one of these reputable organisations that can guide you as we emerge from one of the most turbulent eras of recent times.

This is never truer than when the green shoots of recovery first appear. Have we really hit bottom? Perhaps there will be a late frost that will endanger those delicate new shoots. There is little doubt that there will be more “bad news” days, the stock market will continue to yo-yo as investors take profit as the market rallies. Such events unnerve the market and unsettle those who are planning for the recovery.

A big question that I am asked by many of our clients and one we constantly debate internally, is when is the right time to start reinvesting in market research? No doubt budgets have been slashed, especially by those global corporations based in the USA and Europe is little better. With business confidence only slowly returning, one might expect a cautious approach to reinvesting in market research.

However such a cautious approach creates a serious problem for organisations. There is little doubt that your customers will have been significantly altered by the Global Financial Crisis. Maybe they have lost their job, perhaps their pension plan has been decimated. If they are under 35 years old, they have just experienced their first recession since entering the workforce, what has this done to their spending habits and patterns and their approach to risk? How have their spending profile and priorities changed. Has their brand loyalty held up? How have attitudes to work and their employers changed? The list goes on. These are serious and crucial questions. Can you really afford your competition to find out before you?

It has been well documented that some of the biggest fortunes have been made in the worst recessions and it is equally true that those organisations that adapt to the brave, new, post GFC world, will be the first to prosper and win crucial market share. Those organisations that invest now will be those that create competitive advantage, an advantage that once created, may last for many years to come.

Give us a call or drop me a line to discuss your point of view. Perhaps together we can solve these pressing issues.

posted by Tom Mitchell-Taverner

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