“Shh! You can’t use that word in business, it’s blasphemy. It’s heresy; you’ll be burnt at the stake; you’ll die of a thousand cuts. No-one should utter it’s unholy name.”

In a world of the fly by the seat of your pants, in a universe of risk and to hell with it all it has no place and perhaps worse it costs money. I refer of course, to that unsavory of all ideals, “Research”. There I’ve said it, and as the business world shrinks back in fear, searching for bulbs of garlic, crosses and wooden stakes, I slump back to my cage and into the bowels of my computer.

Research, as one bright mind explains, is expensive and unnecessary.

All evidence to the contrary of course, in the case of the Cane Toad. We screwed that up, one way or another. In the Cane Toad’s case research was obviously necessary and in its absence it has become bloody expensive.

As a business, research isn’t on the page and if you don’t believe me check your budget and see where it appears? Surprise, surprise!

In my case, my vain attempts to convince the world that research is worthy of your attention, has failed. Here’s an example of what can happen when you don’t make research an annual budget item. We’ll call them ‘The Ditto Company’. First, let me assure you this is a real case and only the name has been changed to protect the stupid.

‘Ditto’ has always done things pretty well, they implemented a web site four years ago, they were on the cutting edge then and they know that 90% of their enquiry comes from the site. It’s a magnificent tool for them and it’s increasing their business. No need to worry then, we can all go fishing and life’s a ball! Or is it?

Recently curiosity got the better of them when one, almost awake executive decided to look at his conversion averages – it was then he discovered that the company sales team sold just 5% of the enquiry attracted via the web site. Suddenly discovering the problems became necessary and maybe the cost wasn’t that important after all.

To cut a long story short, our research, which involved a detailed analysis of the site and it’s data revealed some astonishing facts. Of all the enquiry, only 15% of the visitors stayed on the site longer than 30 seconds, a fact which aroused our analyst from her dreams of Tom Cruise. She immediately checked for reasons why and soon the evidence mounted to form a sound opinion. Over four years technology has changed and almost 30% of Ditto’s clients were attempting to reach the web site by Smartphone.

Smartphones can access the web quickly and in a roaming capacity it can reach any site from anywhere – BUT – it’s screen is relatively small compared to a computer. If they can’t read it they abandon the site and in Ditto’s case, reading the site on a Smartphone was impossible.

The answer? A mobile conversion adaptation allows Smartphone users to access a special site which is easy to read and delivers all the same information in a larger form. Solved!

So here’s the thing – You can’t solve problems if you don’t know they exist and you don’t know what problems exist until you analyse the existing process – that’s why research is necessary and why it can’t be an expense – because it’s an investment!