Market research is the key to success in the business world. Without a solid understanding of your target market, you will not be able to find a niche for your business, giving up a large amount of revenue. The process of market research can be intimidating, but it can be broken down into 8 simple steps. Saeed Torbati, a business and market research expert, explains the process and how it can help your business reach new levels of growth.
Step 1: Define Your Objective
The first thing you need to do is to define the objective of your business. For example, for a small pizza restaurant, you want to be able to provide a take-out and dine-in experience for your customers. You want to be able to give them the best quality product at the best price point with enough profit margin to keep your business going.
Step 2: Define the Problem You Want to Solve
The objective of your business has another important facet. You need to decide whether the customer has a problem that can be solved by patronizing your business, or whether you have the opportunity to sell a product. For example, if you are selling dancewear, you need to understand the product and know why someone might want to buy it.
Step 3: Understand Your Competition
In order to understand what will help your business succeed, it is necessary to know your competition. What strategies have they put in place in order to make their business shine? You will need to be able to answer this and many other questions about your competitors before you can truly understand your market. Find out why customers choose the other company over yours and decide what you can do to solve your problem.
Step 4: Develop a Marketing Research Plan
After you have looked at all of the possible causes of the customer’s “problem” and boiled down what you are trying to solve, you can build your research plan. A research plan may be overwhelming at first, but you can narrow it down to some basic interview questions.
The best way to begin a market research plan is to interview your customers and prospects. You can create a focus group or conduct one-to-one interviews.
You can also run a survey using SurveyMonkey or another online resource. Running user tests on your website can be a cost-effective approach that provides data and insight about customer behavior. Get into your website analytics data to track the results.
Step 5: Collect Data and Information
When you are doing market research, you will primarily be gathering quantitative data (numbers and statistics). You will also want to collect some qualitative data, which can be more subjective and observational. Running a test on your website can help you decide which options are best for your business. You can interview customers at this time as well to see what they believe are the most important questions they need to have answered.
When you are collecting data, you need to make sure that it is free of bias. This can be a challenging prospect when you are just getting started with market research. Don’t ask questions that influence how the customer is supposed to respond.
Step 6: Analyze Your Data
When you have a complete survey set and interviews completed, you will need to analyze your data. You may find that certain nuggets of information stand out, but you will need to analyze all of your data to make a coherent whole. Try to put your assumptions aside and look at the data objectively. This may be a step where a qualified market research firm will be able to help you make sense of this wealth of information.
Step 7: Report Your Findings
Finally, after you have analyzed all of your data, it is time to write a report. Even if there is no requirement that you file a report, you should write a summary with your results, your conclusions, and the steps that are recommended based on your results. The primary reason to conduct a market research study is to improve your business, so you should use this information to help make your operation more successful.
Even if your initial ideas have been proven wrong in the course of the study, this is valuable data. You may find new strategies for your business that you would not have thought of prior to conducting the research.
Step 8: Develop New Marketing Campaigns
After you have done your research and analyzed the findings, it is time to put them into action. These results will be able to help you tailor your marketing campaigns and strategies for the best possible results. Move forward confidently with the results of your market research.
One of the most important things that you need to understand about market research is that it never ends. It is always a good idea to keep in touch with your customers and ask them about new features as often as possible. You will also need to update your data periodically.
Managing Data for Continued Success
Data-driven companies are poised to succeed in any field, even those which are not traditionally apt to put these plans in place. Your small business can do as much with market research as a Fortune 500 company if you go about it in the right way. This extra data could be the difference between success and failure.
Saeed Torbati reminds entrepreneurs that market research doesn’t have to be intimidating, but that they can hire a consultant if they do not have time to undertake the research themselves.
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