What is Market Research and How to Conduct It
Why do some products take off immediately after launch while others stay on the shelves, unable to move?
Why are some service providers like hair stylists, plumbers, and electricians booked out for weeks while their competitors are hungry for business?
And finally, why do some businesses thrive while others in the exact same industry struggle to survive?
The answer might be as simple as market research.
Market research is critical to helping your business establish itself, grow, and flourish. It’s what allows you to not only service your customers’ exact needs and wants, but also communicate efficiently with them.
So that raises the question: What exactly is market research?
What is Market Research and What Does It Include?
Simply put, market research is the analysis of consumer needs, preferences, and economic trends.
By researching and analyzing these data points together, you can determine whether a service or product is in demand – and whether it’s the right economic time for that product.
When used properly, market research can help you refine, update, and improve your business idea.
Here are things that market research will reveal include:
Your exact target market. Instead of guessing who your ideal customers are, you’ll know exactly who is searching for your product or service. This can get as specific as age range, gender, income, location, lifestyle, career, and much more! Knowing your target market will help you in your marketing campaigns, as you can address their pain points as well as communicate effectively.
Competitor prices and offerings. Are you too expensive? Or are you under charging? How much are customers willing to pay? It’s always a good idea to look at what your competitors are doing, especially if you’re new to the market. After all, if well established competitors all tend to be doing the same thing, it could be because that’s what works. Conversely, if you notice your competitors are doing the same thing, this could also give you the opportunity to differentiate your business!
Emerging trends. What’s new in your industry? Are consumer tastes changing? Strong businesses evolve as the market evolves. Look at any fast food chain: their menus change every season, every year. This is because they’ve identified those emerging trends, even if seasonal, and are running with them. Businesses that fail to change with the times (such as Blockbuster) eventually go out of business.
The most common types of market research includes surveys, interviews, focus groups, and customer observation. However, these aren’t the only ways to do focus research.
Below, we’ll examine how you can get started doing market research.
How To Do Market Research; What Tools Can I Use?
Market research is all about collecting data. But with so many data points out there, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Consider asking – and answering – these questions:
Who is my target audience? Where are they? How do they make their purchases?
Who are my competitors? What are they doing differently? What are they doing the same?
What’s trending in my industry? What’s trending in the eyes of my target audience?
What’s the biggest challenge my ideal customer faces?
What’s my customer’s attitude towards a topic, pain point, product, or brand?
Are there unaddressed or underserved customers that I can help?
What’s the normal price range for this product or service?
At the end of the day, good market research should be able to answer these questions using objective data. This will allow you to make good business decisions without bias or assumptions. By understanding the larger picture, you can better position your business to thrive!
Google Trends is a free tool that you can use to conduct market research. This allows you to see exactly what customers are searching for on Google! You can even compare search phrases against each other to see what is getting searched more. Furthermore, you can explore data on a state by state basis, so you can see the trends that are closest to you at home! Knowing what topics and queries your audience is searching will help you communicate with them and refine your offerings to meet those needs!
Another free tool is Survey Monkey. This is best if you already have a customer base. You can ask up to 10 questions and include up to 40 multiple choice answers with a free account. For more insight, you can even include a box where users type in their answers. Consider asking questions such as:
Why did you buy our product?
How did you hear about us?
What similar product(s) have you used in the past?
What can we do better?
This is the most affordable way to do market research while also getting transparent feedback from your customers.
Do you know who your target audience is? If not, then another free tool is Build My Persona. This allows you to build customer profiles. So why does this matter? When it comes to marketing, having a clear buyer persona is critical to communicating effectively. For example, marketing towards single moms should be different in tone and style than communicating with young men in college. By creating buyer personas, you’ll have the information you need to make the most out of your marketing efforts.
Ubersuggest is a free keyword tool that will help you with SEO. It will answer the questions “what are my competitors ranking for?” and “what are my customers looking for?” With this tool, you’ll be able to optimize your website so you can rank for the terms that you need to in order to grow your business.
And finally, Statista offers a free version that allows you to access statistics, forecasts, and studies. While you need to create a paid account to access all the features, there is plenty that you can access for free. They have all the data you can imagine in consumer trends ranging from fashion to e-commerce to Fintech. Whatever you’re looking for statistically, odds are that they have it!
By using all these tools, you’ll be better positioned to grow your business and thrive!
If you’re interested in learning more, schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help with business development!