At the start of any business, or any product launch, we are repeatedly told to do our market research. We know we have a great idea and a great product, so what does Market Research mean and how can we do it effectively?
What is market research?
Essentially, it’s the process of gathering data about your target audience, your prospective buyers, how well your product or business would be received by them and therefore how successful it’s likely to be.
Why is market research so important?
Market research is essential to every business out there, be they at the start of their business, or if they’ve been running for years. The act of researching means that we’re theorising the process of selling our product, before we have made huge investment. It’s like drawing someone a treasure map, rather than just blindfolding them and sending them on their way. Market research gives us an accurate representation of the terrain and what challenges we might need to think about and overcome before we start.
What will market research tell us?
There are many things that the process will tell us and some incredible insights into our own business. You will always be surprised by the outcomes and feedback from people.
Keeping in touch with our industry is key to ensuring we’re keeping up-to-date with knowledge, news and changing legislation. The research here will give us an insight into our competitors and give us new ideas for products and services.
These are always changing, so keeping in touch with our customers will make sure our services/products are kept relevant. It’ll also be a great insight into the changing attitudes regarding wider business processes, as customers become more aware of environmental, ethical and efficiency concerns.
A scary one, but hugely vital to the success of the business. You need to know how the customer perceives your brand in the marketplace and what effect that has on your conversion rates and success. Do your consumers trust your brand? Are they even aware of the brand, or are they led solely by the product and its features?
This will give you an idea about where your product or service sits alongside your competitors and whether it’s in-line with what your customers are expecting to pay for it.
So, when should I do it?
Now! Yesterday! Tomorrow! In all seriousness, in my opinion, never stop your market research. You will always need that connection to your customers and the knowledge of where you’re going in the marketplace.
In a later blog, we’ll discuss effective ways of doing market research and how to use the data to our advantage.