By Kathy Penna
Have a new idea to launch a product or service? Market research is a great way to find out more about what your competitors are offering and what customers want from the market that your business is in.
It is a way of collecting relevant information from the marketplace that relates to the progression of your business. A way for you as the business owner to use customer feedback to enrich your sales and marketability. Here is how to use market research for your new small business.
What Can Market Research Do?
First, let’s look at what market research can do for your small business. The answer, really is what cant it do? It determines how viable a strategy, project or entire business idea is. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a logical market research strategy in place. From when you start your business (or before), and at intervals along the way.
Market research encompasses everything that is within the scope of the market of your business. Both of other businesses and what customers are doing/thinking about these factors.
This can be product pricing, distribution and sales. It can also be differentiation and branding of products. It can include marketing campaigns of other businesses and overall customer feedback of any factor of a business.
How To Perform Market Research
When performing market research, it is easier to think of it in four separate categories:
- Focus groups
- Market Surveys:
Surveys are a pain-free way of conducting market research for your business. They can be created on sites like survey monkey and handed out in person or online to participants. It can be a good idea to send them to your email list or include them when someone purchases from your site.
You can use them to ask which logo your customers would prefer you used from a selection of logos, or to check the useability of your website design. Surveys can help businesses get realistic customer feedback and results that are quantifiable and can be entered into diagrams and graphs to create statistics to use for marketing plans and future business moves.
Surveys are also very helpful for businesses that want customer feedback after they have helped them resolve an issue or even if the business did not help fix the problem. Using this method of market research you can diagnose a problem within the business easily and repair it without a long-winded process.
2. Focus Groups:
A focus group can discuss ideas that you might have otherwise passed over. They can help a business owner to focus in on a problem and rectify it with the help of others. When a market research focus group is in action, they often test products and give the consumer’s opinion on branding, product or another aspect of the business. They are then given time to discuss it which can end up with a farm more realistic view of the situation for all concerned than with a survey. However, these results can be difficult to quantify and therefore have variables when put into practice within a marketing plan.
3. Targeted Interviews:
Interviews can be a brilliant way to get to know your customers and other businesses in your field. Using interviews can mean that a business receives in depth insights into their plan via market research. However, it can also be difficult to set up, especially with online businesses. You often only get interviews with bias customers unless you offer a freebie or payment in return as they take time and effort.
4. Generic Observations:
This style of market research is often used within digital businesses. You can observe other social media pages, customer’s activity on your site and with their purchases and many more aspects using observational market research.
Market research is a valuable tool that all small and big businesses should be using to make sure they get the very most out of their time spent trying to build their business.
(The author is a freelance writer with a background in marketing, startups, and branding.)