The Market Study Process – Phases 3: Data Analysis

In this week’s post, we will take a look at one of the most complex phases of the entire market study: data analysis.  Because of this complexity and the skill required to successfully conduct data analysis, FUND Consulting recommends using a third party organization with extensive experience in market analysis.

As discussed last week, the use of a third-party for data collection ensures objectivity and comprehensiveness of information on the need and demand that exists in an organization’s service area.  At the same time, the use of a third-party for the analysis of this data allows for a fresh perspective and broader understanding of how an organization can best respond to this need and demand.

When FUND moves into the data analysis phase, all project team members uses the key research questions as a framework as they sort through the data to uncover key themes and patterns – especially in the case of key informant interviews (KIIs) and survey data.  Additionally, project team members will come together throughout the analysis phase to discuss their findings, helping to ensure that the analysis is thorough in identifying major themes as well as unexpected or outlying responses that might be important for an organization to consider.

For example, in 2011 FUND Consulting completed a market study for the Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (CPCDC), a Native CDFI based in Oklahoma that provides lending capital and business development services to members of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and other Native American communities.  As the market study was to serve as a framework to help guide CPCDC’s future planning efforts, FUND conducted an in-depth analysis of CPCDC client survey data, key informant interviews (representing both local and national Native American communities), and a competitive scan of peer organizations operating in Oklahoma.

Once FUND triangulated the data, the team was able to develop a comprehensive profile of CPCDC’s current borrowers as well as the perspective of other key stakeholders on CPCDC’s market visibility and responsiveness to the financing and technical assistance needs of small businesses in its service area.  As a result, the market study provided CPCDC with a comprehensive overview of its strengths and challenges as it strategically plans for its future.

As a third-party, FUND’s role as data aggregators and analysts ensures that the results of the market study are as objective as possible and provide an organization with the necessary data to inform strategic decision making.  Stay tuned next week as we will discuss how an organization can use the results of the market study to create actionable steps in the final phase of the project.

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