No matter what opportunity you’re pursuing, market research is a fundamental tool to ensure your business has a solid foundation. Good research gives you detailed picture of the products and services you need to offer and what gaps in the market can be exploited.
Taking a little time to understand the specific questions customers ask allows you to provide the most appropriate products, offer the best customer service, and even identify opportunities for expansion that your competitors might be missing.
Despite how important market research is to any business; a surprising amount of people don’t take the time to do it. And even when they do, they often end up asking the wrong questions or even the wrong people. That’s why this week we wanted to share a quick guide on the basics of market research and how you can apply them to your business strategy.
Here are some market-research tips that can help get you started.
Types of Market Research
Before you dive in and start your research it’s useful to understand the two types of research you’ll be doing; Primary and Secondary.
Primary research involves collecting first hand data, such as analysing current sales or evaluating the effectiveness of current business practices. Carrying out primary research often involves questionnaires, consumer surveys, and even interviews.
This type research provides some of the most interesting insight about you consumers and overall business viability. We’ve provided a few sample questions you can ask below:
- What impacts your decision to purchase (insert your product or service)?
- What do you like or dislike about current products or services currently on the market?
- What would make your shopping experience/ interaction better?
- How much would you be willing to pay for (insert your product or service)?
Secondary research is all about analysing data and insights that have already been collected and shared. These sources are very useful for identifying your competitors, setting realistic business goals and categorising your audience.
A common misconception is that primary research provides ‘better’ or ‘more accurate’ data about a sector, but this isn’t necessarily true. Any good market research effort needs to combine both primary and secondary sources to get a complete picture.
How to Collect Data
No business, whether it’s big or small, can succeed without understanding its customers, its product, and the marketplace. In sectors such as ecommerce, competition is fierce, and attempting to run a successful business without having the necessary data leaves you exposed to your competitors. As with types of research, there are two categories of data you’ll be working with, quantitative and qualitative.
Quantitative data relies on mathematical analysis and quantifiable metrics while qualitative data is about understanding the less tangible elements of your business or the marketplace.
The two data types generally complement each other and together they help to identify problems and manage customers’ opinions and concerns.
Common Marketing Mistakes
In the early stages of setting up a business you’ll likely be strapped for time and cash, but don’t take shortcuts, if you do they’ll come back to haunt you. Here are three pitfalls to avoid:
Using only web resources
Web resources are open to everyone, including your competition. If you want to gain a competitive edge try tapping some deeper resources such as your local library, college campus, or small-business centre.
Surveying only the people you know
It can be very tempting to reach out to friends and family for input when you’re starting a business, but in many cases they are not the most honest survey candidates. To get the most useful and accurate information, you need to tap into your real customer base and understand their requirements and expectations.
Do you have any tips for completing market research? Share them in the comments below. And if you haven’t already, be sure to follow our social media channels for more tips on how to get your business up and running.