A good management consultant will tell you to never assume that you know everything there is to know about your consumers and the current market. Instead of relying solely on your business instincts, consider conducting market research when launching a new product, as well as finding a niche or a market for it.
Properly conducted, empirical and scientific research can tell you everything you need to know about the state of your business’s industry and the market it’s working with. No matter how big or small a company is, market research should be done regularly to get an insight into your consumers’ mindsets. Take a look at these steps for conducting market research the right way:
1. Set your goals.
What do you want to know about your market? Do you want to find your niche? What about your target consumer’s willingness to buy your product? As with the business itself, your research should have set goals before starting out. This will outline the extent of your research and the purpose of your study. As a guide, goals should be:
State these goals in a way that lets you go back to them after your market research, so that you’re able to answer to or achieve every goal in your data interpretation.
2. Conduct research on your specific industry.
Doing this part of the research can give you important insights into your brand’s position in the market and arm you with valuable knowledge about competitors, industry benchmarks and cases relevant to your business. Consider the following sources of information for conducting research in this area:
Chambers of commerce, trade associations and business networks often have relevant and useful information about each industry.
Universities and research institutions in your area might have existing research about specific markets that you want to expand in.
3. Listen to your consumers.
Whether through analytics or customer interaction, reaching out to your consumers is one of the key elements of market research. Buyer personas are built on specific data you can gather about your market’s purchasing factors, practices, motivations, pain points, turn-offs, and more. Here are a few ways you can get the information from your consumers:
Use government sources in finding data on your target market’s demographics.
Send out surveys and questionnaires to your target market. Surveys are a great way of reaching out to a large sample size. The catch? People need an incentive to fill out forms.
Some broad research questions can be answered through focus group discussions. Here, sample consumers are invited to one place and asked to discuss their experiences and opinions about a product, service or company. While this doesn’t cover as much ground as other methods, it’s a good way to hear directly what consumers really think or feel.
In contrast to focus group discussions, one-on-one interviews ensure that consumers are not influenced by other individuals in airing out their experiences with a brand. However, this requires more resources to execute and the results are limited by the sample size.
Product and service tests can be done in facilities where consumers try them out and share their comments with you. Forms can be filled out and interviews can be conducted to collect and record this data.
4. Interpret the data.
Turn all the data you gathered into actionable information by interpreting it in a cohesive study. What do the results of your research mean for your company? Do they have any implications for your current strategies? If you were able to keep track of the goals you’ve set in the first step, accomplish them using the interpreted information gathered from your research.
By consistently keeping an ear close to the ground, businesses can better predict how to adapt to the changes in the market, compete with other businesses and gain new customers while keeping their most loyal ones.
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