Market research should never be underestimated. Many successful new businesses enjoy longevity because their owners conduct regular market research to understand their target market, identify consumer problems and pinpoint realistic competitors.
It’s the simplest way for entrepreneurs to keep up with market trends and maintain a competitive edge by sizing up your business opportunity.
Market research can be carried out at various stages of a business life cycle, from pre-launch and beyond. Having a greater understanding of your marketplace from the very start will enable you to create a sound business strategy to establish and grow your brand into one that’s better than the competition.
The scope of the market research you’ll undertake is influenced by your overall objectives – what do you want to learn about your market and the external factors influencing it?
The objectives will also determine the types of market research that you need to undertake in order to be successful:
Most new businesses will encounter three different types of customer; market research gives you the ability to understand how your target customers think and adapt to their needs in order to turn them into regular customers and brand advocates.
This type of customer is someone that’s not necessarily concerned with the quality or effectiveness of a product or service, but is intent on getting the best possible value. A ‘savvy’ customer is someone that’s likely to be aware of all the prices offered by your major competitors, so you’ll need to carry out secondary market research to understand whether your products or services will be priced competitively.
If it transpires that your products or services will not be the cheapest it’s best to know now in order to provide compelling evidence to potential purchasers why they should continue to buy through you; perhaps based on quality and reliability.
An industry expert or influencer is someone that is not only highly knowledgeable about your target market, they can influence other prospective customers that trust their opinion.
An industry expert will not be fixated on the price of a product or service, they are often more concerned with the value and quality. Industry influencers make for ideal candidates to use for primary market research, allowing them to use your products or services, garnering their opinion on them and the market as a whole.
An end-user is a customer that will actually use your products or services on a day-to-day basis. End users also make for excellent candidates for primary market research, allowing you to understand their frustrations and limitations – ideal if you’re still in the process of developing and designing new products, giving you the edge over the competition.