The American Marketing Association defines market research as the process of using information to link the public to marketers. Investopedia says market research allows companies to better understand their target market and how they will respond to a product or service. Market research is traditionally seen as being used in the business sector. However, as research tools and methodology have expanded and adapted, evaluators sometimes adopt market research strategies to meet the needs of nonprofits and government agencies. Many of the Improve Group nonprofit, public and philanthropic clients have used market research to help get a clear picture of community needs and to refine services that best meet their needs. Here are some examples:
- One of our Analysts worked on developing a market-driven survey for the Minnesota International NGO Network (MINN), a nonprofit looking to become a membership-based organization. The purpose of the survey was to assess membership price points and value proposition categories for membership. The results from the survey will be used to develop membership levels and prices, and will propel the organization into a structure that meets the needs and demands of the population it serves.
- An example of market research in the context of the social sector is Lutheran World Relief’s work on climate change. While the science around the effects of climate change was becoming more and more conclusive, people’s attitudes about climate change were still evolving. Through an extensive audience research study, Lutheran World Relief learned the expectations, fears and hopes of potential supporters of climate change work.
- Another example of market research and its relationship to evaluation is in our evaluation for Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership. In addition to exploring outcomes, our evaluation reached out to former and potential participants to hear about emerging needs, preferred services, and alternative services. We learned that people need access to different types of leadership programs (i.e., simple workshops, year-long programs, and online resources) at different stages of their professional lives.
How does market research relate to needs assessment and evaluation? The table below presents a quick view of some similarities and differences.
Is your organization exploring a new service model or considering expanding to reach new populations? Market research may be one strategy to feel more confident in your choices and test options.
Posted: May 29th, 2013 | Author: igmain | Filed under: About evaluation, Improve Groove Newsletter | Tags: American Marketing Association, climate change, difference between market research and evaluation, evaluation, Improve Groove, Improve Group, Investopedia, Leah Goldstein Moses, Lutheran World Relief, Minnesota International NGO Network, needs assessment, Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership, Sara Stalland | No Comments »