The Market Study Process – Phase 1: Organizational Assessment; Goal Setting; Key Research Questions; and Research Tool Development

As we laid out in our last post, FUND Consulting utilizes a four-phased approach for market study projects.  The focus of the initial phase of the project is to gain a thorough understanding of the organization’s research and data needs as well as to develop the appropriate key research questions and research tools.

Organizational Assessment and Goal Setting

At the outset of each market study, FUND Consulting facilitates a kick off meeting with the client to assess the current position of the organization and set goals for the market study.  As part of this assessment, we talk through the organization’s products, service area, and client base to determine how the market study fits into the strategic goals of the organization.  Specifically, our aim is to understand the organization’s current role in the market and how it envisions that role in the future.

As the results of the market study should be actionable, these steps ensure that FUND understands exactly what data is needed in order to inform an organization’s response to the need and demand in its current and/or potential service area(s).

Key Research Question and Research Tool Development

Once the organizational assessment is complete and the purpose of the market study has been established, FUND turns to developing the key research questions and research tools.

Developing the key research questions is one of the most important tasks during the first phase of the project.  Working from our initial discussions with a client, FUND focuses the information from these conversations into a set of key research questions that guide the entire market study, including the process of selecting the appropriate research tools for the project.  In our many years of market study experience, FUND has found that a combination of key informant interviews and/or surveys with secondary data analysis yields the most robust data set from which to uncover both the micro and macro trends that drive need and demand in a given market.

FUND works closely with our clients during this initial phase of the market study to ensure that the questions and research tools will deliver the data necessary to inform strategic decision making.  For example, FUND Consulting recently completed a market study for Family Foundations, a nonprofit organization in Florida.  The organization was interested in understanding its role in responding to the need and demand for microenterprise financing products and services in its service area.  FUND developed a set of key research questions that focused on gain a comprehensive view of the microenterprise market in its service area.  Armed with the data from the market study, the organization is currently moving forward with a strategic plan to address the gaps in microenterprise funding and technical assistance that the market study uncovered.

As we can see, an honest dialogue and a clear understanding of the process at the start of a market study is essential to lay the foundation for a successful project.  Please stay tuned for our next post in which we will discuss Phases 2 and 3 of the market study: Data Collection and Data Analysis.

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