Do You Know There’s Too Much Reliance on Secondary Research?

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Do you know there’s too much reliance on secondary research?

There is a growing problem with reliance on secondary research in the field of business. A good analyst will likely find more secondary information than you, but this can be a big problem if you are not careful. This article is called do you know there’s too much reliance on secondary research? Secondary research is best used in combination with primary. If misused, it can lead to inaccurate conclusions and a waste of time. 

What is Competitive analysis?

Competitive analysis determines the attractiveness, customers, competitors and the dynamics of a particular market within a specific industry sector. Develops an understanding of the relationship between supply and demand, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for your product or service to enable you to make more informed decisions about potential marketing strategies.

Time-consuming and potentially inaccurate

The main problems with using secondary research are that it is time-consuming and it can be inaccurate. Just looking at secondary research can be a big problem. A huge problem. But a good analyst will likely find more secondary information than you. It’s called secondary because it’s usually second-best to primary. Choose the primary source if you have access to a primary source and a secondary source. Primary will be far superior every time. No contest. Secondary research is good for verifying primary sources’ claims. Or indeed the photograph you have taken. A Competitive Intelligence report should be a balance of secondary and primary research. This is where cheap and cheerful offshore options fall over. Then huge disappointment.

Is that information really true?

So then it comes to the simple often unasked question:

  • Is the secondary information correct?

Actually, this question accounts for all information. Is the information before you correct? This lack of verification and our natural tendency to find the information we want to see and confirm we were right. Or something that will put the business or yourself in a good light. 

A good analyst will likely find more secondary information than you. But it’s called secondary for a reason. It’s second-best to primary”. 

Remember, information can be wrong or a mistake. And it can also be misjudged. And just as importantly, it may have been deliberately put there for you to see.

Operation Mincemeat

But, clearly, it may not be as audacious as Operation Mincemeat and a true deception operation that involved a body washed up on an enemy beach. And then subsequently changes the course of a war. Nonetheless, if the information deceives you and you may make a strategic decision on the back of it. And it does happen more regularly than you may think. Described brilliantly in a book by Ben Macintyre and in a couple of films. The latest starring Colin Firth. 

Yes, accurate secondary information is an excellent source of insight. The best secondary information is based on primary information:

  • Where someone tells you something
  • Other people verify it
  • And confirmed with a secondary source 

A fundamental problem with secondary research is that it can be highly time-consuming. And it can take hours and days to find something out when researching competitors or analysing your market using a secondary source. A simple 10 minute phone call is all it can take to get the information you need.

Do you know there’s too much reliance on secondary research?

In conclusion, it’s evident that there’s too much reliance on secondary research can be problematic. It is important to use secondary research to supplement your own analysis and verification rather than blindly relying on it. And be mindful of the limitations of secondary research. Use it in conjunction with primary research to produce more accurate and reliable findings.

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Competitive intelligence is the finding & critical analysis of information to make sense of what’s happening & why. Predict what’s going to happen & give the options to control the outcome. The insight to create more certainty & competitive advantage.

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