One of the most important steps in starting a new business or launching an existing one into new territory is market research. It’s also one of the easiest steps to ignore or take lightly, but it can be one of the most beneficial ones as well. You may not need to do market research when you’re deciding on what college to attend, but doing some kind of research before going into business will help you avoid mistakes and give you insight into your industry that will better prepare you for long-term success.
What is Market Research?
It’s hard to do business without knowing what your market is. As a business owner, research should be a top priority as it can increase profitability, customer satisfaction and level up your company. If you have never run a business before you probably don’t know where to start with market research or why it is even important. However first you need to understand who your customers are. That way when you research their wants, needs and problems you can better determine what makes them happy and keep them coming back for more. Are they men? Women? Teenagers? Grandparents? What do they like? Where do they live? How old are they? What kind of income do they earn per year? Do they travel frequently or prefer to stay close to home for most activities. These questions alone could take weeks just finding answers too, but that’s not all there is too it!
Why Is It Important?
Market research is crucial because it helps establish that you are selling something people want. The better you understand your customer’s needs, wants, desires and pain points; their age, education level and socioeconomic status; their geographic location and patterns as well as their motivations for buying a product or service—the easier it will be to target them effectively and sell to them in a way that will generate business revenue.
When Should You Do It?
It’s important to survey customers and clients about their preferences and expectations at every stage of business development. Surveys can be used to assess a new product’s viability, or to measure consumer satisfaction with an existing product or service. Early in a business’ lifecycle, market research should be performed to ensure that you know how your product might fit into a larger market, who your customer is likely to be, and whether there will likely be demand for your service once it hits the market.
What Makes Good Data?
Good data is accurate, up-to-date, representative and allows you to make an informed decision. More simply, good data helps your business be successful. There are two questions you should ask about each piece of data you use: how was it created? and how do I know it’s good? Make sure that every piece of information your company relies on can be traced back to a source – preferably an unbiased third party – that generated it. Otherwise, you risk making bad decisions that could cost your business real money. If there’s any uncertainty in how you would go about evaluating data quality, consider hiring a professional to help with market research or consumer surveys. The costs will be recouped quickly when they prevent you from pursuing avenues that fail early on because they don’t have adequate consumer interest or support. Doing market research well is also essential if you plan to sell your product or service at some point; taking consumer feedback into account throughout design/development will ensure both satisfaction and sales once it hits the shelves.
Other ways to collect data and advice on using it.
Even if you’re not a business owner, there are plenty of ways to collect information and advice from those who are. For example, one type of resource is an online forum in which entrepreneurs share their experiences. A specific subgroup on Reddit called r/Entrepreneur—featuring a helpful community that shares tips and support—is an active subreddit filled with more than 40,000 members. There are also plenty of social media groups specifically devoted to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Facebook has several entrepreneur pages as well as LinkedIn, which features hundreds of entrepreneurship-related groups and forums (many with thousands of members). Finding these communities can take time and effort, but they may be worth it if you use them wisely: One tactic is to search your industry or local area (e.g., marketing experts in Austin) to see what comes up. You should also check out relevant message boards, chats, and blogs too; often simple keyword searches will yield numerous results from industry experts willing to share what they know! Another option: You could reach out directly to other companies for their input via email or phone calls about strategy, organization structure or overall resources/tools that helped them succeed.
Marketing research is valuable to your business as it helps you make smart decisions. Whether you’re running a small-business or a multinational corporation, market research gives you insight into consumer behaviour that enables you to tailor products and services for maximum appeal. It also allows you to make an educated guess about what consumers will buy in the future so you can stay one step ahead of your competition. You don’t have to be a fortune teller to know how important marketing research is—and, if you ignore it entirely, there’s no telling where your business could end up. You might not need magic powers to predict which markets are ripe for expansion, but you do need relevant data—making sure market research is integral to your company growth strategy is critical.