Why is Market Research important?
Questions you should ask yourself:
- Is there enough demand to start up your new business?
- Will it see it through its first year and beyond?
Before spending any money (most importantly) and time, research can help you with the following:
- Whether there is a genuine market for your idea
- The likely value and volume of demand
- Trends currently affecting your market
- Likely future developments
- Proposed law changes
- Technological changes
- Level of likely competition
You can get ahead of your competitors by spending research time, such as
- Specific information about your target customers
- Who you will be competing against
- Their strengths and weaknesses
- Any potential strategic partners to collaborate with for mutual benefits
Types of Research
- Primary – Information that comes directly from the source.
- Secondary – Market research that’s already compiled and organised for you.
- Personal insight
- Great for customer experiences
- Stories, anomalies & truths
- Large data sets
- Opinion surveys/poll
- Great for big-picture trends
Describe your Target Market
The person who is going to make the buying decision
Who are they?
- What do we need to know about them?
- How can we find them?
What you need to know
What type of customers group will your business appeal to?
- Sector / Location / Services they provide / their customer profile
- Why will your business appeal?
- Why should you consider targeting them?
- Qualifications and expertise that will be of value
- Any useful contacts/introducers in this group
- Strong reputation in media / exhibitions / on-line
- Can you further narrow down the group?
- Geographical restrictions (target postcodes)
- Businesses of a certain size / specific
Search online for trade bodies, forums, blogs your target audience belongs to
- Join and ask questions (make it clear you are only after information not peddling your wares)
- Subscribe to publications they read
Use them to understand what topics interest them
- Study your competitors
- Find contact details for 15 to 20 businesses you would like to do business with a Book a convenient time with them to ask questions/conduct survey
- Arrange 1-2-1 meetings with prospects
- What memberships, groups, events, rallies conferences do they attend
Types of information you are looking for:
- Who are the decision-makers
- What arrangements are in place to purchases similar
- What are they using already
- What may prevent them from doing business with you
- Do you have the correct qualifications/expertise
- Is your business the right size
- Can you match their price requirements
Document all the information – and be honest about the ability to meet their requirements
Who are we researching?
- Market Sector
- What volume and value share of the market will you need to capture?
- Is there sufficient demand for your product or service?
- Is your market expanding or declining?
- What are the current trends, for example in buying habits?
- What is the medium-term outlook in your market for the next two to three years?
The characteristics of your target customers:
- socio-economic status
- buying habits
- ethnic background
- what they read
- type of business
- procurement routes
- trade affiliations
- social/environment policies
- groups and associations
- The reasons why these specific groups of people (or businesses) will buy from you?
- ASK THEM! DON’T ASSUME!
- How much they are prepared to pay and how often?
- Who are the main suppliers?
- Why use them
- Backups/alternatives (what they have and other alternatives)
- Possible problems with supply (political etc)
- Future changes that risk you supply chain
- Service/support/finance/share available above and beyond product
- Who are the key influencers which could make your idea take off?
- What do they like/love and have experience of?
Sources to get your information
- Company information
- Social Media
- Depends on a range of factors
- amount of information
- how recent it is
- type of market
- the overall level of detail
Who you are going to engage with, when, why, what you want to achieve, what you’ll ask, how you will use the insight.
Great for collecting information on…
- Customer opinions
- Preferences and buying behaviour
- Levels of demand
- Opinions on pricing (just how much are they willing to pay)
- Awareness of your product or business
- Attitudes towards your product
- Attitude towards competitors and their products and services
- Personal survey (face-to-face)
Online survey tools that are quick and easy to use
- Business & Marketing objectives – the share of market, reputation, known for, 5-10yr plan?
- Building your brand – how you look, what you say, how you say it, how a customer feels
- Product & Service – price point, benefits & features,
Identifying customers – who will buy, where are they?
The activities you do to take your product/service to the market and the messages that go with it. Coordination of channels, messages and expected impact.
- Online chat
- Direct Email
- Go viral
- All social media & content plan
- Online advertising
- Postal mailers
- Marketing collateral
- Existing customer referrals
- Affiliate marketing & partners
- PR activities
- Objective – what do we want to know? (Opinion, experience, facts etc)
- Audience – who are we asking (customer, competitor, a supplier?)
- Questions – what shall we ask? Specific, real questions that will
- help us make decisions
- Research Methodology – face to face, online, survey, observational, mystery shopping, interviews, social media poll
How will we identify & engage them? – Social media, on the streets, an email database, LinkedIn, telephone survey?
How will I make it happen? What platforms will I use? – survey monkey? MailChimp for email marketing? Twitter poll?
- What do I need to be successful? Email database? Set up on social media? Access to key reports? Who do I know who can help me?
Once you have done your research, then your ready to do the below:
- Start up / new business idea
- Planning product launches
- Building and progressing your marketing plan
- See how well you’re doing (customer satisfaction)
- See how well your competition is doing!