Whether you are a small business or large conglomerate, making assumptions about your consumers’ habits, tastes, or preferences can be a risky move. If you want to know the truth, then you need objective market research.
Market research helps you to never make assumptions about your consumers’ habits, tastes, or preferences. Take the time to talk to them and be sure.
Asking the right questions will provide valuable insights that affirm your assumptions, prevent costly mistakes or provide insights for a more profitable alignment with your market.
Where do I start with planning Market Research?
While there are many ways to undertake market research, most businesses use one or more of five basic methods: surveys, focus groups, personal interviews, observation, and field trials. The type of data you need and how much money you’re willing to spend will determine which techniques you choose for your business.
Succinct and straightforward questionnaires, either online or in-person, help to analyse a slice of your target market. In-person surveys are one-on-one interviews typically conducted in high-traffic locations such as shopping malls. They allow you to present people with samples of products, packaging, or advertising and gather immediate feedback while the person is in the frame of mind of making purchasing decisions.
The quality of the data that we can obtain from a survey like this is, to a large degree, dependent upon the skilful construction and wording of the questions posed. It’s important that questions do not “lead” respondents so you can capture objective data. We also avoid ambiguous and easily misinterpreted words and always pilot questions before going live. It can be costly to establish the methodology, engage, recruit and test with this method, but it delivers reliable results. Online tools like survey monkey, Bloomfire or Toluna can be a massive aid. You can achieve response rates of more than 90 per cent using this method; because of the larger the sample size, you can make confident decisions based on the data the process elicits.
Focus groups are another data capture method, of the qualitative variables. This means that you are looking for subjective feedback such as customer quotes to support or refine a brand, product or service release. Focus groups are usually run by a moderator who will use a series of scripted questions to lead a discussion among a group of people. This format is repeated across various customer segments to capture sentiment and group responses into actionable points.
Like focus groups, personal interviews include unstructured, open-ended questions. These are usually our favourite ways to learn more about any brand. Focus groups and personal interviews provide more subjective data than surveys although not as statistically reliable as a formal survey they often yield valuable insights into stakeholder minds and are an excellent way to unearth previously hidden truths around a brand.
Individual responses to surveys and focus groups are sometimes at odds with people’s actual behaviour. When you observe consumers in action by videotaping them in stores, at work, or at home, you can observe how they buy or use a product. This gives us a more honest picture of the people interact or use a brand.
Placing a new product in place to test how customer response under real-life conditions can help you tweak your offering.
10 benefits of using Market Research for your brand
1. Communicate more effectively
With the insights you gain from the market research you can realign your brand with the most effective messaging to communicate to your current customers and future customers.
2. Identify opportunities in your marketplace
Research can make it obvious what your market wants or needs. You may then decide to realign your approach on what you are going to offer to suit your audience. Research can make it obvious that a new product you have planned may not be what your market wants or needs. You are then able to make modifications on what you are going to offer to suit your audience.
3. Minimise risks
Investing what is often only a small proportion of your branding spend on research means you may find all the information you need to decide whether to take specific action or not. Both primary research (fieldwork) and secondary research (desk research) can be utilized as an insurance policy against both obvious dangers on the road ahead. It also means that you can stand out by being brave in your choices.
4. Strengthen your position
Knowledge is power. Using market research to gain a better perspective and understanding of how you measure up against your competitors, means you can find out just where you are and then, according to the results, you can take action to change perception according.
5. Uncover and identifies potential problems
Understanding consumers’ reactions to a new product or service when you are still developing enlighten the development so it can be tweaked to match its intended market.
Accurate market research has the ability to empower you to make plans on how to manage your brand. Research can estimate the likely sales of a new product/service which then allows you to allocate the advertising expenditure required to achieve and maximize your profits. By examining every factor within the market, you also can predict how the market will grow or change in the future helping you plan ahead.
7. Identify and establish trends
If you treat your market research as an ongoing exercise that you do periodically, you’ll find that you’ll have a lot of data to be able to analyze your customers and establish any particular trends. Staying ahead in business is often about being the first, being the best or doing something that no-one else has thought about. Potential customers can then be divided into segments. You want to focus on the best market – which is not necessarily the largest one or the market with the highest growth – it will be the one that matches your brand’s vision.
8. Establish your market positioning
It is always good to know the position of your business benchmarking and monitoring your progress. Knowing your position in the market can help you to make decisions and take action. This prevents your business from reversing back in terms of making sales and profitability as the world changes around you.
9. Understand your customers
Customers within a particular target market behave differently. Their behaviours affect the growth and profitability of a trade. It is good to know what customers like and products they shun. When armed with such information you will know the perfect products that can meet their current needs. Lack of knowing the customers can culminate in a brand completely missing the mark.
10. Quality of decisions
The value of every decision is a function of the facts you have. Market research will help you gain a new angle, hopefully, a compromise in just how you are going to go about a new launch, a new brand or a brand repositioning. Lack of proper facts can culminate in poor decisions. In business, a miscalculated decision or choice can be costly. To maximise your returns best to measure twice and cut once.