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Why research matters now more than ever


A while ago, I unknowingly bumped into a video on Youtube of Dr. Michael Osterholm, an Infectious disease expert, being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on the possibility of the world one day waking up to a deadly flu virus. In a clip of the show which was originally aired in 2006, Dr. Osterholm predicted that the virus would cause pandemonium across the world to the extent of shutting the global economy.

Replaying the video on Youtube over and over again you would assume that the Dr is a time traveller who had seen a glimpse of 2020 back in 2006.

Fast forward to 2020 here we are living and surviving through what seemed like a far-fetched prediction. Stuck in our homes having to depend on media and digital platforms to give us a peak into what is happening around us.

As the Corona Virus is slowly shaping a new world order, most people have had to change. This according to renowned market researcher, Patson Gasura, CEO and Customer Happi- ness Director at Topline Research Solutions, has seen the birth of a ‘new customer’ who has been forced to change his behaviour and lifestyle.

In response, some businesses have redefined their strategies for the year most probably for years to come. Then there are those that have remained seated on the side-lines, waiting for answers and solutions possibly from the medical fraternity and political leaders. As they wait and ponder on the next step to take the customer continues to evolve.

There are also those businesses who have resumed operations without giving much thought into the changes around them.

All these different scenarios present a challenge for businesses as they have not taken the time to study and understand the market more so the customer.

Six months ago, a single formally employed woman who was probably worried about the next fashion trend for her office closet is now holed up in her one bedroom flat with a terminat- ed work contract. This has restricted her shopping and monthly splurges on the latest fashion as she has to readjust into survival mode. A bread winner in the family has been forced to close his small informal business and wondering where he will get his next pay cheque to feed his family.

These are a few of many stories that require businesses to keep engaging the customer in order to unpack his or her opinions, priorities, perceptions and general outlook on life. More than any other time, research has become a necessity for businesses to understand this emerging customer.

Whether done internally or through consulting research experts, businesses need to engrave the culture of under- standing new dynamics of the customer. It is through research that businesses can map viable solutions to remain afloat and relevant to the market they are serving.

AUTHOR : Vimbai Kadzura Mademutsa Phone : 0715 216 318

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Bio: Market Researcher currently employed at Topline Research Solutions

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