Should You Do Market Research During COVID-19?
Uncertainty Sparked By COVID-19
As COVID-19 upends daily life and wreaks havoc on the global economy, companies throughout the healthcare industry are adjusting their strategic plans and putting various activities on hold. Healthcare strategy, marketing, and business development leaders are wondering – is now a good time to do market research given the crisis? Should we move forward with market research studies when customers and other stakeholders are preoccupied with their circumstances? With the environment around the world changing so rapidly, will the findings of today be valuable tomorrow?
In most cases, the answer is yes; now is a good time to do market research. Actionable insights backed by research are more critical now than ever before. However, some barriers present challenges and may make certain types of research unfeasible or less attractive. To better understand how COVID-19 may impact your market research efforts, we recommend evaluating three research dimensions:
- Who: Target Stakeholders
- What: Insights
- How: Methodologies
COVID-19’s Impact on Market Research
Who: Target Stakeholders
While many healthcare providers are on the frontlines of COVID-19, some specialists are experiencing procedure cancellations, office closures, or a shift to only treating essential patients. An overall decline in patient volume for many healthcare providers (HCP), especially in outpatient settings, solves a significant challenge that organizations typically face when conducting research – the accessibility of experts. Finding and recruiting quality stakeholders with relevant expertise can be challenging and time-consuming. For HCP studies, those specialists focused on outpatient treatment or inpatient specialists less involved in COVID-19 treatment like surgeons, are ideal candidates for market research due to potential increased availability with declining patient volume. Other stakeholders, including patients, payers, and industry experts, remain ideal stakeholders for upcoming studies as a result of increased availability with stay-at-home mandates. Inpatient providers and administrators treating the virus likely have limited availability to partake in market research, making studies focused on those stakeholders not ideal.
The goal of your market research is crucial in determining whether it will be successful during this pandemic. Any research focused on understanding and adapting to the epidemic can support your organization in acclimating to the evolving environment and outperforming competitors. Upstream research for products still in development can continue without significant impact, as can research to understand the general market or competitive dynamics. However, insights gleaned from research that is especially sensitive to the pandemic, like financial benchmarking or willingness to pay analysis, may not be applicable beyond this short-term timeframe and should be delayed until the global healthcare landscape settles.
With stay-at-home orders and other social distancing mandates in place across the globe, organizations should avoid face-to-face methodologies in most instances. Due to these restrictions, virtual-friendly methods are ideal for any market research during this crisis. This could include phone interviews, online surveys, and online focus groups, which specialists are still eager to participate in. These methods tap into the rise of online engagement we are seeing during the pandemic, making recruitment easier for interviews and surveys.
Moving Forward With Market Research
Although COVID-19 has derailed many aspects of our society, your organization can continue with a critical activity: market research. Modifying your strategies to the conditions of the pandemic can allow you to move forward and even collect qualitative and quantitative information more easily.
Kx Advisors, Your Partner in Strategy
Our healthcare experts can guide you through adjusting your strategy with insights gathered from market research. As data-driven decision-makers, we’re experts at designing research to inform quantitative models, developing forecasts in emerging and innovative markets, and quantifying what is challenging to quantify. We can support your organization with market research and turn the results into actionable insights.