So, you’ve just started your very own business, and now you want to take the market by storm.
But wait! You can’t take your business to success with brute force and determination alone. In an extremely competitive industry like business, the name of the game is strategy! You’ll need every advantage you can get to stand toe-to-toe with your competitors.
One surefire way to do this is to conduct market research. In this blog, we’ll define what market research is and go over some of the ways it can help you improve your business’s outlook—if you do it right! So without further ado, let’s dive in.
What is Market Research?
Market research can be defined as the process of discovering what it is that your consumers want, and determining whether or not your products can satisfy their needs. It can be split into two types:
Primary Market Research
This involves actually going out there and doing the research yourself. That, or hiring someone to do it for you.
Information is gathered directly from your target market, usually in the form of surveys and questionnaires, interviews or focus group discussions, or even on-site visits to your competitors.
Primary research is understandably quite expensive. Whether you’re hiring someone or doing it yourself, you will need to invest a lot of time and funding into reaching out to participants, collecting the data, and analyzing your findings. The upside is that your data will give you more specific, actionable insights, and you’re sure it’s up-to-date!
Secondary Market Research
On the other hand, secondary research is when you analyze data from the research of other people or groups. This includes government data and statistics, or reports published by other companies and associations.
Secondary market research is much more cost-effective and can give you a broader perspective of the landscape as a whole. However, its downside is that it’s not tailored to your business, such as your location or your specific customer base. When doing secondary market research, you also need to be vigilant; is the research still relevant? Was it conducted by a reputable company or team? And so on.
Why Should You Conduct Market Research?
Now that we know the types of market research, you might be thinking; well, why should you shell out money for this? It seems like you could use common sense to figure out what consumers want—after all, you're a consumer, too. But the insights and advantages you get from market research are different:
You gain a clearer understanding of your consumers’ needs
The one thing you MUST know as a business owner is what your consumers want—otherwise, you’ll be left trying to sell what no one wants to buy.
Market research is a systematic way to gather the information that will help you assess your product’s value and make strategic changes. It’s much more efficient than relying on intuition and trial-and-error.
Doing market research will also help you get an idea of the most effective way to promote your product or service. After all, developing a valuable product is only half the battle—you also need to convince your customers that they need it. With thorough research, you’ll find the social media platforms and peak times when your audience is most active and learn the marketing strategies they respond well to.
You can keep in step with your competitors
If your business is new, you’ll probably feel intimidated by how well-established your competitors are. Fortunately, you still have an excellent chance to make up ground—and that’s through market research!
One thing working in your favor is that your competitors have probably been doing their own data gathering and implementing their findings into their systems. That means you can include them when you do secondary market research. You’ll get a feel for the industry best practices, and case studies can warn you away from marketing tactics that don’t work! This will help you avoid a few rookie mistakes along the way—and you need all the advantages you can get.
You can identify potential issues early
As a business owner, you can’t avoid trials and pitfalls as you build your business up. While we mentioned in the previous point that learning from others’ mistakes helps, some things you will need to experience for yourself.
But market research can help you prepare for those problems, even if you can’t dodge them entirely. Find out about common complaints or errors that your competitors have already experienced, and start thinking of solutions and contingency plans. By doing this, you’ll have given yourself the best chance of coming out on top!
The Final Word
And there you have it! If done correctly, market research can help you develop better products, learn from your competitors’ strategies, and prepare for possible pitfalls that you and your business may come across in the future.
We hope this blog helped point you in the right direction. Research really is the best place to start building the foundations of a successful business. And if you want more business tips, check out our blog!