Do you really need new research?

By,  David McLeod, Founder Vamos Strategy

I ask my clients, and prospective clients, this question when the opportunity for new research (i.e. primary research) projects arise.  I recommend any client marketer/market researcher ask this question of themselves before initiating new research for their organisation.  In today’s world, and within organisations, there is heaps of information, research, data and insights available that we can readily access at our finger-tips (literally), whether on the internet or within an organisation’s intranet.  I have worked with clients that are sometimes quick to tender new research when existing research or data is available to them and can be recycled, reused and reanalysed (i.e. secondary research) to deliver the required insights or proxy.  In these situations, I highlight the opportunity to mine the existing research deeper, saving both time and money and delivering the same (or close to) desired outcome.

So how do you, as a client marketer/market researcher, answer this important question ‘Do I really need new research?’.  Here’s a suggested process…

Step 1:  REsearch brief

The critical first step in answering the question (‘Do I really need new research?’) is to write a solid research brief, which includes:

  • Business objectives/strategy –  what are the organisation’s objectives/strategies that the research will inform or support?
  • Research Purposewhat does the research need to achieve?
  • Application of the researchwhat will the outputs/insights from the research feed into?
  • Questionswhat are the questions the research needs to answer?
  • Target audiencewhich segment/demographic is being targeted with the research?

Step 2:  REview existing primary research

  • Once you have completed your research brief, you can review previous primary research undertaken by your organisation, your customer data and external research/data sources (e.g. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)). 
  • It would be wonderful if existing research/data answered your research brief in its current form.  In all likelihood, you may find one or multiple research or data sources that are similar.  If you do, fantastic, grab them, and move on to step 3.  If not, time to use your research brief from step 1 for launching new research.

Step 3:  REcycle, REuse & REanalyse

  • If you are lucky enough to find some similar research from previous project or external data/research source, time to recycle it for your current project.
  • In most cases, recycling the research will mean going back to the raw data or qualitative notes/reports and recutting the data/qualitative notes for deeper analysis.  This could be analysing another segment/demographic or a proxy, for example perhaps the demographic ‘born in a non-English country’ could be used instead of ‘speak a language other than English at home’?  Proxies are never a perfect substitution but indicative which is perhaps all you need.
  • For this step, you may want to do it yourself (DIY), brief (from step 1) the original consultant of the recycled research or a new consultant.

Step 4:  REview results

  • Once you completed the step 3 analysis (and reporting), assess whether it answers the step 1 brief fully or are there gaps that need to be answered.  If so, move on to step 5. 

Step 5 (if needed):  Conduct new research (to fill gaps)

  • Update the research brief from step 1 for the gaps that need to be answered.
  • Decide whether you are able to conduct the research yourself/internally or need a research consultant to assist and brief them.

Following this process to answer the question ‘Do I really need new research?’ may seem more cumbersome than launching new research but it could save you and your organisation valuable time and money.

Let me know if you have any questions or need support with your research.  Always happy to chat research and strategy!  You can reach me at Vamos Strategy by email ( or mobile (+61 423 892 452).

David McLeod
Vamos strategy

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