Primary market research is the act of gathering information about your members’ needs, perceptions, and preferences. Using market research is a great way to make informed and strategic decisions for your not-for-profit organization. That’s because, when done effectively, primary market research can supplement observational data (from sources such as Google Analytics) and provide you with deeper insight into your members and stakeholders and their reasons for engaging with your not-for-profit.
The Benefits of Primary Market Research
Understanding your member universe allows you to develop the most comprehensive strategy for maintaining and growing both your engagement and membership. In fact, primary market research can both support and grow your membership strategy because it allows you to better understand the motivations, intentions, and behaviors of your members. Such information is invaluable for strategic planning and maintaining a thriving organization.
Primary market research can answer and address a number of key areas in your organization:
- Membership Personas: Discover more about who your members or donors actually are. What are their pain points? How do your members differ in terms of job responsibilities, tenure, professional accomplishments and goals? Why do they choose to support your organization? What matters most to them? Are members satisfied with the current benefits? A great market research campaign will allow you to answer these questions and more.
- Communication Efforts: Market research will allow you to learn how and why your members differ. If you know this information, you can better segment your audience so that members only receive communication from your organization when it’s pertinent to their needs or interests. In the case of email marketing, for example, custom individualized messaging would likely result in higher open rates and increased engagement.
- Strategic Brand Development: Perception is reality. If you understand more about how your members perceive your organization, you can correct or even capitalize on those perceptions. For example, learn how your members view your organization compared to others in your niche. This information could help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your existing branding or marketing efforts.
- Cultivate and Refine Membership Offering: Evaluate whether you are offering your members the right mix of products and services. Could new offerings expand your appeal and therefore your member base? Understanding what your members and non-members value from your association while identifying unmet needs will allow you to focus on the most valuable products and services.
Tips for Successful Primary Market Research
Once you’ve established your objectives for primary market research, begin evaluating how your organization will execute the research process.
- Decide who will conduct the primary market research. Some organizations choose to conduct the research internally with staff and other in-house resources. However, for many not-for-profits (especially larger ones) hiring a third-party consulting firm to collect research on their behalf is usually most beneficial.
- Decide how you will execute the primary market research. Typically, not-for-profits gather primary market research data through a variety of efforts, including surveys and focus groups.
Get the Benefits of Primary Market Research with Vault
At Vault, we believe that conducting primary market research is a great way to make your organization thrive. However, great research is only the beginning. At Vault Consulting, we not only tailor our research services to help your not-for-profit meet its goals, we provide the tools you need to translate data into actionable information.
If your not-for-profit requires professional primary market research services, contact us for more information about our research services today.