Have you ever kickstarted a marketing campaign with great hopes, only to get saddened by the outcomes? Or what about launching a fantastic product with immense fanfare just to realize the market wasn’t excited? These are some common scenarios that happen in business. And this is where market research for business makes a huge difference.
“Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed.” – Dan Zarrella.
Market research lays out the direction to start a business. If you have colossal business goals, market research can assist you in making the right moves and stop you from wasting your time and hard-earned money.
However, many small business administrations do not conduct proper market research. These days, modern marketing is all about taking action and running after immediate results. And investing time in conducting detailed market research for business might not be on your priority list.
But consider that around 71% of consumers, as per Statista feel that brands don’t entertain them. And approximately 60% get annoyed by receiving those sales and marketing emails. This all happens even though we have access to greater consumer data than before.
With a wide range of tools and data available, businesses can’t ignore the importance of market research. Using proper market research techniques helps you better understand how to pitch your customers and stand ahead of competitors.
In this guide, we divide everything you should know about market research and how doing a proper study can assist you in taking your business to new heights.
Market research is all about collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data about a specific market. It comprises geographic, psychographic, and demographic data about current, past, and prospective customers. Also, it includes competitive analysis to analyze the authenticity of a product offer.
In simpler terms,
Market Research is the process of analyzing your target audience to better plan your marketing strategy.
But, before moving ahead, let’s see the behind-the-scenes work you need to do:
It’s vital to regularly conduct your market research to keep up with the latest market trends and sustain the competitive edge. Conducting market research can help your business accomplish tasks like:
If you do not identify your target audience, it may get tough to build a successful business idea. With detailed research and analysis, you gain access to significant demographics.
Getting answers to these questions will help you understand your audience effectively.
Getting a proper understanding of your prospective customers helps you get more success out of your promotional campaigns. With in-depth research, you can:
Relevant data from market research will assist you in making more wise decisions. Finding answers to the below question will help you modify your existing operations and activities to achieve a desirable result.
We all know how Casio utilized market research to gain insights into consumers and adjusted the strategies to be more efficient.
Positioning is becoming highly crucial as many competitors are entering the marketplace. Market research helps you spot golden opportunities to describe yourself in a better way than your competitors.
Maybe you’re able to rethink your price model. Or perhaps your product comprises a unique feature. Exploring such options goes hand in hand with researching your market. In fact, 52% of B2B marketers analyze that reliable consumer insights are vital to becoming a leader.
All businesses require direction to grow, or else your efforts and attempts can go all in vain. You can utilize customer data for creating an efficient strategy by:
There are mainly four types of marketing research that your brand can perform to gather actionable data on your products, including primary research and secondary research.
Primary research aims to collect data to determine the latest sales and the efficacy of the ongoing practices. Primary research takes into account competitors’ plans and provides you with data about your competition.
The motive of secondary research is to understand data that has already been published. With the help of secondary data, you can determine your competitors, create benchmarks and analyze target segments. The segment is the people who fall into the specific demographic- people living a particular lifestyle, showcasing specified behavioral patterns, or falling into a specific group of age.
It aims at information received from first-hand observations, questionnaires, focus groups, etc. Qualitative research can be primary or secondary research. This type of market plan provides you with data that highlight the thought process of the customers. This is the perfect way to know why customers laid trust in your brand.
It aims to gather and understand data from huge sample sizes like demographics, opt-in rates, and spending. Like qualitative, quantitative research can also be primary and secondary research. This type of marketing research is all about showcasing data and facts to back up your strategy.
|Numbers, Graphs, Statistics
This is the first step from where all the research projects begin. You will also come across the fact that market research follows the order of the scientific method. You need to analyze first what you are precisely researching.
Do you have any specific questions regarding your business you wish to answer? Maybe you are searching for an opportunity in the market. Or perhaps you have analyzed something critical related to the product use that you want to validate? Include that in the initial step of your market research.
In case you are clueless about where to start, connect with your sales and marketing experts to look for problems that you can address. If you are a solopreneur or wish to take more suggestions, consider hiring freelance market research experts who can guide you throughout.
Once you have finalized the primary motive for your research study, focus on designing your approach. Make a decision on which research design would work perfectly for your reasons, among these:
Descriptive Research: This is the perfect option if you are looking for in-depth data or wish to gain interest in any specific topic or service.
Exploratory Research: This kind of research is helpful if you don’t have enough knowledge about the problem or require more data before narrowing your search.
Casual Research: Best for getting answers to specific questions and analyzing how cause leads to an impact.
At this stage, you also need to take into consideration other vital elements related to market research techniques. No matter you count on your in-house team or hire a marketer, you need to decide on a budget. Receiving quotes from market researchers or allocating an amount for tools can help you get an approximate estimate of how much you need to invest in the project.
Also, you need to have a clear picture of your target audience, especially if you are entering a new segment. You are required to survey a group of people who are a bit different from your existing customers. Prepare a buyer’s persona to clearly understand your customer’s demographics, profession, behaviors, needs, and interests.
Once you have prepared the buyer persona and identified the group to engage, you need to select the most relevant person for your market research. Begin by focusing on the audience who matches your buyer person’s characteristics.
Though we suggest focusing on one persona at a time, still, if you feel like researching multiple personas, you can do so. However, ensure to assign an individual sample group for each one.
Choose People who have Currently Got in Touch with You:
You may wish to consider people who have finished an evaluation within the last six months if you have a larger niche market. It’s essential that their experience is fresh as you’re going to ask in-depth questions to them.
Collect a Mix of Participants:
You need to get in touch with such people who have got experience of using your product, your competitor’s product or decided not to use anything at all. Though it will be easier to connect with your existing customers, it may get tough to source data from the ones who aren’t your consumers. Gaining information from both will help you get a balanced view of your market.
Let’s have a look at how to choose this mix of participants:
Collecting detailed information about your competitors assists you in analyzing who their target audiences are, how they interact with them, and how they present themselves in the market. This will help you gain insights into their successes and failures. Based on that, you can modify your strategies and eliminate things that receive negative feedback.
There are mainly two types of competitors:
Industry competitors are the ones saturating your marketplace. For instance, if you are selling breakfast cereal, your competitors will be brands like Kellog’s, Baggry’s, etc.
Though they won’t be competing in terms of the products, they are the biggest competitors because of their content. For instance, if you own a leadership training business, a content creator will be a business with expertise in developing content about how to be a top leader.
It is vital to understand your competitors properly so that you can make a wise decision. Gain insights about your competitor’s audience and use those insights for your benefit in writing a business plan.
Once you have got all the processes in place, you need to start collecting the data. This is the step wherein you require to conduct surveys, interviews, or gather industry insights. However, ensure to choose your market research tool wisely. It will significantly impact the amount of work you would require doing while analyzing the data.
After completion of the data collection process, you can start processing the collected information. If you have data in several locations like separate files for every interview, separate survey folder, etc., bring them to one place. For instance, you may require deciphering survey or interview files and responding to every question in a spreadsheet.
In case you have gathered quantitative data, you can represent your data using graphs and charts. You can seek help from a freelance data analyst to go through the information collected by you.
Your task doesn’t get over at analyzing the data. You need to collate your information in an actionable and communicative way for the decision-makers. The best practice is to prepare a report that comprises all your data, the results, recommended actions, and conclusions.
Feel free to showcase your style. Go through these outlines that might help your curate a concise summary:
Background: What were your goals behind conducting this market research.
Participants: Who all you connected to for your interviews and surveys. You can divide participants based on persona and showcase it in a tabular form.
Executive Summary: What were the most impressive things you came across while conducting the market analysis. Summarize it in crisp and clear words about what you are planning to go ahead with.
Action Plan: During your research, you may develop specific action plans for running campaigns to get your brand in front of the target audience more efficiently.
There are several market research methods for collecting primary and quantitative data. Some may require you to ask questions directly to the customers to collect information. Also, you may need to analyze your conversation with the audience and observe customers’ behavior. The correct method depends on the type of data you wish to collect.
Let’s have a look at the most common types of data collection processes:
Conducting surveys helps you gain information directly from the customers. You can utilize this process for gathering either quantitative or qualitative data. A survey comprises a list of questions; participants need to attempt and give a crisp answer.
Perks of conducting surveys
Interviews are a form of qualitative research wherein researchers select an ideal individual to provide feedback. The person whom the researcher decides for interaction should be a part of the customer persona. Usually, this method helps to gain in-depth responses from the customers.
Interviews may be structured, unstructured, or semi-structured. In essence, an interview process can be conducted via telephone or face-to-face meeting.
Perks of Conducting Interviews
This marketing research technique is used by analyzing potential customers in a specified scenario or environment at a given day and time. Generally, marketers monitor the behavior of the surrounding environments or people being studied. This type of study can be natural, participant, or controlled.
Natural observation is when customers are being observed in their natural conditions. On the other hand, controlled observation utilizes a standardized procedure of monitoring the consumers or the environment. Participant observation is conducted when the researcher gets involved in the group being studied.
Perks of Conducting Observations
Counting on Free Data from the Internet: The web is undoubtedly the best starting point. However, the information you collect from there may be incomplete, inaccurate, or too superficial to be genuine to be used in your business decisions.
Surveying Only your Network: Again, it’s a great initiative to interview your closed one and get feedback. But close friends and colleagues are generally not the apt survey subjects. To get the most reliable and detailed data, you need to interact with real customers and gain knowledge about their needs and expectations.
Trusting only on Anecdotal Feedback: Often, businesses get feedback from various customers and stakeholders. But getting an answer to a few questions doesn’t suffice your needs. Business insights need to be gathered in a systemized way.
Market research for business is no easy feat. If you get terrified by the idea itself, you’re not alone. But don’t run away from it. The advantages of conducting even a little market research can have a myriad of benefits for your business.
You simply cannot ignore that. Undeniably, you won’t be able to become a market research pro overnight, but the best thing is you don’t even need to.
If creating a market research technique seems too challenging or requires too many resources for your in-house team, you can hire an experienced freelance market research analyst. They can complete the job on time and within your budget. They can help you put the right questions on the survey form and collect vital data to help you make informed decisions.