What Is a Market Study and Why Do I Need One?

In this week’s post, we will dive a little deeper into the market study by taking a look at why an organization would conduct a market study and how FUND Consulting approaches the market study process.

Why Would an Organization Need a Market Study?

As we discussed last week, the market study or market analysis is a powerful data collection tool that can provide nonprofit and mission-driven organizations with the information they need to gain greater insight into the need and demand for their products and services in their current and/or potential service area.  To quote from this excellent primer on the use of data to drive change from the Living Cities blog, data is so important because: “Data is information from which knowledge is derived.”

Specifically, the knowledge that results from a market study should empower an organization to take action towards achieving its goals.  For example, in 2010 FUND Consulting worked with Illinois Service Federal Savings and Loan (ISF), a local CDFI in Chicago, to conduct a market study of the existing financial marketplace in its service area.  The goal of the market study was to help ISF gain insight into how it could strategically expand its reach into those areas of greatest need and demand. The study identified market gaps in ISF’s current service area and provided recommendations on next steps to filling those gaps. It was then subsequently used to develop a successful CDFI Financial Assistance application that resulted in a grant of $1.5 million that enabled the organization to move forward with its plans for expansion.

The FUND Consulting Approach to Market Studies

In each market study that we work on, FUND Consulting takes the same four-phased approach with every organization.  In the coming weeks, these four phases will serve to guide our exploration of the market study process and outcomes:

Phase 1: Organizational Assessment; Goal Setting; Key Research Questions; and Research Tool Development

Phase 2: Data Collection

Phase 3: Data Analysis

Phase 4: Recommendations for Action

Stay tuned next week as we discuss Phase 1:  Organizational Assessment; Goal Setting; Key Research Questions; and Research Tool Development.

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