Market research is essential for businesses looking to disrupt their market and outlast their competition. These days there are more ways than ever for companies to conduct market research, whether through qualitative or quantitative means.
We asked our community of experts to weigh in on their favorite market research strategies and they delivered! Read on to uncover the best ways to conduct market research today.
Business owners use market research to determine the feasibility of new business opportunities. Market research is an essential component of a business plan for any startup businesses. If market research does not indicate a demand for the product or service, the proposed business will not likely be viable. Businesses may also use results to expand into new markets.
My favorite market research is brand awareness research that tells you about what your target audience knows about and recognizes from your brand. It tells you about the associations your audience members make when they think about your business and what they believe you’re all about.
– Caroline Lee, Co-Founder, Cocosign
Market research refers to the process of businesses collecting information about their buyer personas, target audience, and prospective customers to determine how their target audience would respond to their value proposition. It also tells the researcher what is trending in their industry, what their target audience wants and needs out of products and services, and what factors may influence their buying decisions.
There are two types of market research that a business can conduct, primary and secondary research. Primary research focuses on gathering firsthand information that is collected from focus groups, surveys, or interviews and is used to collect insights on the challenges potential customers face. Secondary research on the other hand involves using pre-existing data such as public records to draw conclusions from. For example, trend reports, industry statistics, sales data, etc.
– Helen White, Co-Founder, houseof
Market research is about validating your business assumptions as cheap, fast, and reliable as possible. If I want to get a big picture of a customer problem, market, or solutions, then I look for online statistics and reports on those (there are many free blog posts, free statistical reports, etc.). If the opportunity still looks interesting, I will formulate my top 3 assumptions that can make or break the opportunity, and reach out to the target customer base and some industry experts to validate ONLY those assumptions. If I want to improve existing marketing or sales funnels, I do lots of A/B testing to understand how my customers respond to different versions
– Martin Luenendonk, Co-Founder, Founderjar.com
Many of the brands that I have worked with lack a clear understanding of what they offer in relation to their competition. This is something that is easily remedied with a quick online market research exercise. I recommend that business owners take a few hours to scour the web for businesses (both local and out-of-area) to gain an understanding of what their competition offers and how they can improve on their own offering, as well as on their competition’s. By doing this simple exercise, brands can work to stay ahead of their competition.
– Laurie Wilkins, Founder, Call Outdoors
Running a business today is much more competitive compared to a few years back. With this in mind, you need to pull out all the stops to ensure you can succeed and rise above the competition. Market research is an often overlooked strategy that can make a huge difference. One thing that many companies fail at is understanding their audience: know who you are the target, where they are “hanging out”, what they are searching for, how they are spending their money, and other related factors.
This is where market research comes in.
There are multiple ways to do this, but some options require a larger investment. Turn to Facebook for a cost-effective solution. Business owners often overlook the potential of that tiny piece of code called the Facebook Pixel. Integrate this into your website, and you can gain valuable insight into the people who show interest in your products and services.
Bottom Line: For a cost-effective market research option, add a Facebook Pixel to your website, and constantly monitor the results.
– Thomas Bradbury, Technical Director, GetSongKey
Our approach is very simple, but we like to use keyword search volume each month to see what our customers are searching for when it comes to selling their house. We want to know what they want and how we can serve them. We take this information and adjust our marketing, social media, and discussions on appointments in order to close more deals.
– Luke Smith, Founder, We Buy Property In Kentucky
Market research provides key insights into your customers and competitors. It helps you understand the motivations of your customers, their met and unmet expectations, and their perceptions towards your brand and your products. You can use this information to develop products that meet their expectations, improve on current products, and even expand into new markets.
Conducting observational research on your target audience is one of the most impactful market research strategies today. This method of research is normally more reliable than survey research. Reports indicate that in several instances, survey respondents will outright lie, or be unwillingly dishonest in their responses. However, observational research, especially in the target’s natural environment, can help researchers collect reliable and accurate data.
– Carol Tompkins, Business Development Consultant, AccountsPortal
Market research is a must for every business; however, it’s not always cost effective, especially if you’re a start up or a small enterprise. It’s all about having a psychological advantage over your customers, knowing what they want and need, and providing the necessary products and services for your target audience.
There are many ways of conducting market research, however, these days using the internet may be the most effective. Use surveys and incentivize your audience with a chance to win a prize by filling it out. Collect a sample and see what your customers really want from you.
– Ethan Taub, CEO, Goalry
Market research can help businesses grow since it provides information on the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. Furthermore, market research can pave the way for new opportunities that weren’t available before, increasing the demand for product/service and skyrocketing sales. Lastly, market research provides businesses with an opportunity to see what they lack and how they can improve to stay competitive on the market.
I think the most effective way to conduct market research today is to do surveys. Surveys usually provide options to have a few short series of open or closed-ended questions. I like them since they’re inexpensive, relatively easy to conduct, and they’re straightforward to analyze.
– Nikolina Jeric, Founder, 2Date4Love.com
Market research can go a long way to improve a business, after all, understanding your market is imperative to the continued success and growth of your business.
Firstly you need to ask yourself what research you want. Will this be targeted at your currently engaged consumers, or are you looking to find a more wide range of people in order to see how to entice a new, wider audience? If you are focussed on your already engaged audience and making seeing what they want, an ideal method is to take advantage of your e-marketing, as you know the people here are engaged with you already, and as a bonus, you can find out just how much people are actively engaging with your e-marketing.
If you are looking for a wider response, then using Facebook advertising might be the way forward for you. Facebook provides enough options that you can be specific in what type of audience you want, or where they might be located, without it specifically being sent to your audience, but be aware that you will need to have a decent budget if you want your research survey to reach enough people to make it worthwhile.
– Daniel Foley, Director, DanielFoley.co.uk
The best way to improve your business is to perform consumer-specific research. Understanding your customers’ desires certainly gives you an advantage over your competition and there is no better example than Amazon.
Their curated recommendations are a direct result of proper consumer-specific market research. Amazon creates recommendations based upon customers’ purchase history, recently viewed items, their shopping cart, etc. All of this results in personalized recommendations contributing to almost 35 percent of all sales.
Amazon conducted a survey where 86 percent of customers agreed that personalization played a key role in their purchase choices, while 56 percent are more likely to return to a website that features a similar recommendation algorithm.
– Martin Seeley, CEO, www.mattressnextday.co.uk
Use social media!
There are polls that you can add to your tweets and posts on your channels for your audience to interact with. This is a fun way to engage with your audience and get some of the best market research instantly. Although it may not always be reliable as people like to joke around when it comes to online polls; however, you can definitely be sure that you are engaging with your customers and audience, something every business should be doing.
– Karl Robinson, Co-Founder and Director, Logicata
I believe that the most important thing when launching a new product or brand is to test the name. Without proper research into what your audiences will be the most receptive to, you risk failing before you start.
When we launched Foot Cardigan, we did market research by testing three different names: Foot Cardigan, Rad Foot, and Spiffy Feet.” We tested these names with a focus group of 1000 people from various countries, backgrounds, genders, ages, etc. We had almost 300 people sign up for Foot Cardigan. People’s reactions to other names were feeble. So, if we named our brand differently, we probably would not have a company.
Now our business is growing by 200-300% year on year with over USD 2.5 million annual revenue. We also conducted research to identify whether our potential customers would prefer knowing what socks will be mailed to them or if they like an element of surprise. So we built our concept on that euphoric feeling of expecting a surprise.
– Daniel Seeff, CEO, Foot Cardigan
There are many ways you can conduct market research for your business these days. Here are a few of my favorites:
Surveys ask users a brief series of open- or closed-ended questions, which may be delivered as an on-screen questionnaire or via email. Online surveys are so popular because this is often easy and cost-efficient to conduct, and you’ll get a lot of data quickly.
Nothing beats a face-to-face interview for diving deep but if an in-person meeting isn’t possible, video conferencing can be a solid second choice. Any sort of in-depth interview will produce big benefits in understanding your customers and target markets.
3. Focus Groups:
Focus groups compile a carefully selected group of individuals who fit a company’s target market. A trained moderator leads a conversation with the products, user experience, and/or marketing message to realize deeper insights.
During a customer observation session, someone from the corporate takes notes while they observe a customer engage with their product. You’ll see people interact together with your product in a natural setting without influencing one another.
– Aaron Simmons, Founder, TestPrepGenie.com
Market research is all about asking questions about PAST BEHAVIORS, rather than would you X (future predictions). People are horrible at making future predictions about themselves. You can make a good estimation on what they’ll do though, based on what they’ve been doing so far.
– Derek Williams, Founder, ZeroToUsers.com
Before we launched our SaaS application, we did a small round of beta testing. We found a group of about 50 users who could benefit from our app and we let them use it completely free, indefinitely. All we wanted was their feedback on how we could improve it, and asked them to be brutally honest. After a few months of rigorous testing, we got the kind of guidelines that we needed to create something great.
That’s my tip: if you’re just launching, find your ideal target audience, let them use and break your product and make it better by following their instructions.
– Dmytro Okunyev, Founder, Chanty
If you are selling a physical product, one of the most effective market research tools you have at your disposal is Amazon. The platform is free and you can quickly get data on what your potential customers are thinking about, what they’re searching for, and what they’re buying.
By reading reviews and questions left on product pages, you can build up a picture of your target audience’s needs, wants, and goals. Armed with this knowledge, you can then position your product as the perfect solution to your customer’s problems.
– Amara Ukaigwe, CEO, Book Learn Pass
My company has used market research for analyzing global competitors that are considered to be SaaS enterprises. In fact, the in-depth analysis has helped my team to understand our threats, as well as future opportunities which were seriously taken into account for developing our marketing plan. Additionally, we have used many different online databases, investigated advising platforms of firms that offer online inventory management services, also have made comprehensive research of our rivals including pricing plans, unique offerings, exceptional features, blog section overview, social media’s engagement, customer-centric metrics, business verticals, size of customer base and many more.
The outcome of this market research has allowed us to fill the gaps in showing our benefits and identifying customer segments. Indeed, my teammates and I have discovered brand new value propositions for clients, particularly that we are a cost-efficient company. Now we started seeing ourselves as a ‘‘best value for the money’’ online service which is easy to use and implement. Undoubtedly, we will take the advantage of our new discoveries while preparing business differentiation strategies, as well as in promotional activities to raise our brand awareness.
– Monika Ryzkovaite, Marketing Manager, Megaventory
One of the best ways to provide market research to improve for any company would be to use a tool such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, LSIGraph, or an alternative website to find out what the customers are searching for online. This can provide you with information about the needs of the customer such as services, as well as the terminology the customers are using to find your business or competitors.
When using a keyword insights tool you can also provide feedback by clicking on the terms to provide what website pages on your competitor’s websites are performing well. This gives you a chance to know the areas of weakness you have in your business and how you can improve to compete against those competitors.
– Michael Russell, Director of Digital Marketing, Ratchet Straps
We use market research to pinpoint our marketing efforts when it comes to targeting certain areas in our city as well as other markets around the country. There are several factors we want to identify before we launch any marketing campaigns. We use websites like Niche.com to help identify a lot of data. The most important being things such as population size, median home values, and rent vs own ratios. If we didn’t do this market research upfront we run the risk of dumping a $5,0000 marketing campaign in an area we would have a lot less success with finding the right properties we want to buy.
For example, if a certain zip code in a city is 95% owned and only 5% rentals the likelihood of procuring rental property in this area would be a lot harder and the rents wouldn’t even make sense from a cash flow perspective. On the flip side of that, if we sent out a bunch of direct mail to a zip code that was 80% rentals and 20% ownership looking to find properties to flip for big profits we would be targeting the wrong areas. Areas with high rental percentages are usually lower-income neighborhoods where home values are usually a lot less. Each type of market has its advantages but not all investment companies operate the same. Some companies are only targeting higher-end flip neighborhoods, but for us, we target the lower-income rental markets to buy, rehab, and turn into a rental property for years to come.
– Patrick Tanner, Co-Founder, Missouri House Buyers
Over the last 25 years, I have started and built 6 successful businesses; however, I must have done research on 100’s of potential industries and companies before I opened those 6 companies up. Overall those years there are 2 major things I learned when doing marketing research.
Although the internet has a ton of great information the best information you get is from actually speaking to people who have experience in the field you are investigating. Second, it is very easy to look for information that confirms your theory and you really need to stay objective throughout your research phase. In other words, it is too easy to find evidence to support your ideas. Instead try to be more objective or even skeptical.
– Stephen Halasnik, Managing Partner, Financing Solutions
Your market research strategy will depend greatly on the scope of your business: whether it’s local or internet-based.
If you’re a small business owner that sells digital services, a hands-on approach can work really well. Ask your employees, or loyal customers about their honest feedback, and find out if there are any needs that are currently not met. What particular element is underprovided? If you feel people will rather write anonymously about this, have a comments & suggestions book available to your customers. This kind of research falls under the primary research category.
The secondary research is based on learning about the extracted data, statistics, and analyses of the market. There are quite a few ways to do this, and it doesn’t need to be expensive. You can hire a company to do this for you, or invest your own time into Googling the companies in your area and niche.
– Sharon Van Donkelaar, CMO, Expandi
Businesses can use market research to improve the quality of their strategic decisions, and the most effective way to conduct market research is to proactively track your competitors. This is important because markets are becoming more crowded, customers are faced with more options, and loyalty is increasingly difficult to come by. More than 90% of businesses have reported that their industry became more competitive in the past three years, and on average, companies report a count of 29 competitors vying for their customers’ attention, according to Crayon.
Continuously tracking competitors is the most effective and easy way to ensure you’re accounting for all market factors when you make decisions for your business. You can use free tools like Google Alerts, Feedly, and Visual.Ping to receive notifications every time a competitor makes an announcement or indicates the launch of a new strategy. By putting a proactive competitive tracking framework in place, market research becomes a quick task that you can integrate into your daily routine.
– Carly Cheton, Founder, Lumina Brand Intelligence
A business defines its value proposition for its audience by establishing a clear, single-minded positioning. The strategic attributes of brand positioning require a clear understanding of the market opportunity and competitive dynamics. Here, market research plays a key role.
Today, with the depth of content being published across the internet, viable and actionable data can be efficiently and cost-effectively done with what is called “desk research”. Especially for SMEs, this helps avoid the time consuming and costly primary research. Companies want to be able to react to market shifts quickly. Because we live in times of rapid change, especially when technology is involved, regularly researching the trends in the market, and how your competitors are positioning themselves ensures that you can maintain a uniquely differentiated position that aligns with market opportunity.
– Lysle Wickersham, Founding Partner, BRANDThink
Businesses can use buyer personas to gain valuable information about their audience on a more micro-level. When you understand how subsets of consumers differ from one another, you can make thoughtful adjustments to strategy and product development to create more value and increase relevance. Businesses can use buyer personas to customize content and target in a personalized way.
This year, businesses reported that leveraging buyer personas for web development improved usability by anywhere from 2-5 times. One effective way to do this, within the realm of e-commerce, is to create tailored landing pages for different consumers, based on buyer personas, to optimize conversions. We know this strategy works because research tells us that about 70% of companies report improved lead generation and revenue when collecting and using data on buyer personas.
– Kimberly Smith, Marketing Manager, Clarify Capital
I always encourage my clients to think about market research as another tool in their toolbox for connecting with customers. Actually asking users what’s working and what’s not is critical to make sure you’re meeting a marketplace need and optimizing your product or service accordingly. This is extra important in the current environment, where so much of brand experience has shifted to digital.
What I’ve found in nearly 20 years of conducting market research is that the most effective way to elicit authentic feedback from your target is to leverage data collection techniques native to the audience you’re trying to reach. It’s common sense but surprisingly overlooked. People want to weigh in and feel like they’re a part of something, an asset to the brands they are actively keeping in their orbit during these uncertain times.
So what does that mean for doing market research right now? Leaning into remote participation, accessible on mobile. A few tactics we’ve leveraged in 2020 are:
- Adapting the video conferencing/chat platforms so many of us are already using, like Zoom, Google Meetings, and even FaceTime for focus groups or one-on-one interviews
- Getting creative with Instagram’s polling features in Stories
- Creating private Facebook Groups (or re-purposing existing ones) as explicitly moderated communities, enabling ongoing asynchronous conversation & two-way learning
– Rachel Swanson, Founder, Method + Mode
The best way to use market research as your biggest tool is to analyze your competitors. look at what they have launched. what products and services have been a hit and why have they grabbed so much attention. One thing you can instantly learn from this is consumer behavior. you can learn what the consumers are looking for. If your competitor’s product was a failure, you can conclude what the consumers are actually looking for. If it was a hit then you can know for sure the mindset your consumers are in and what they expect exactly.
– Achintya Kolipakkam, Designation Content Marketer, Elegance Tips
Every business, whether large or small, should do market research. If you don’t you are flying blind. Instead of relying on bright ideas and hope, when you do market research you will know who your audience is, what they need and want, and what they like, and dislike. Research can uncover things you would not think of in a million years.
One of the best ways to do market research today is with social media monitoring and listening to online conversations. Every time we’ve done this for a company we’ve found insights that astonished them. In several cases, these insights led to a new market that was very lucrative.
– Sally Falkow, CEO, Meritus Media
The best way to conduct market research is by using keyword tools such as Google’s free Keyword Planner or paid tools such as Ahrefs or SEMRush. These tools allow you to see the approximate searches per month for a given keyword and allow you to gauge the potential size of the market. You can even narrow down on the niche markets within the larger market by looking at long-tail keywords.
For example, a quick search reveals that the term mason jar has 46,000 monthly searches in the USA, but it’s also important to consider that this is only ONE keyword. Be sure to look at the monthly search volume of other phrases such as 32 oz mason jar or 48 oz mason jar to identify which sizes are in the highest demand. These tools can also uncover markets that are underserved by cross-referencing niche search terms such as mason jars with handles with the number of other websites that sell such products.
– Joe Brusca, Co-Owner, Build Assets Online
Market research is vital for all companies ranging from a startup to a multi-million-dollar operation. Conducting research on your industry, your target audience, and even your customer’s preferences can be the difference between profit or loss.
Take the 1996 McDonald’s flop with its launch of the Arch Deluxe. In efforts to broaden its image, McDonald’s wanted to appeal to sophisticated adults. The problem? Its lack of market research for its campaign. The campaign focused on Ronald McDonald with the Arch Deluxe playing golf and swimming and another where children grimace in disgust at the burger because of the only for adults message McDonald’s was trying to create.
Turns out, adults didn’t find this disgusted look from children very appealing. It also turns out, McDonald’s was tarnishing the family-friendly, low budget brand it cultivated for itself for so many years. Because of this lack of market research in truly understanding customer preferences and channels in which the audience will accept the message of the Arch Deluxe, it was a ginormous, and expensive flop for McDonald’s. The company spent more money on this menu item than it had on any other menu item in its history ($150 million to be exact).
This is why market research is so important for companies to improve their operations. Research identifies exactly what your audience wants and what it needs. In conducting this research, you can strategically place yourself in the market and yield significant success in the eyes of your industry. Without research, you will never know where the gaps are in the market or how to place yourself as a relevant company for your consumers and for your competitors.
– Ciara Hatfield, Marketing Director, Total Green Services
Market research can be both quantitative and qualitative. Many companies include free-response questions in their surveys, but still gather enough data to garner statistical significance. Companies can target users from almost any demographic (Eureka Surveys offers 20 demographic categories), allowing them to potentially expand their customer segment. Surveys can also be used as ads. An average survey costs anywhere between $1 to $10 dollars per complete, not bad, considering a Google cost per click is around $2 and does not provide any feedback.
– Tommy Fang, Co-Founder, Eureka Surveys
Market research helps a business alleviate a pain point or seize an opportunity. Whether you’re conducting a qualitative or quantitative study, these two benefits are always at the forefront. On the pain side, organizations can face a challenge courtesy of a competitive threat, market changes, or mistakes of their own making (poor product design, sales tactics, etc.). On the opportunity side, organizations might be looking to take advantage of a market shift, the need to move into an adjacency (new geography or industry), or accelerate new product launch. In the end, market research provides you the security that you’re making a good decision worthy of investment.
The most effective way to conduct research isn’t a method or a tool. It’s an obsessive focus on including the right people in your study. Too often in the market research community, the quality of the participant is an afterthought, and the use of a new tool or model takes precedence. This is a huge mistake. The right people are the fuel that drives great insights. So instead of focusing on the tool or model, spend time ensuring that any research participant has the right background, context, and characteristics to answer your questions in full.
– Sean Campbell, CEO and Founder, Cascade Insights
From an advertising and marketing perspective, the most influential market research is the type that gives you insights into consumer habits and the reasons behind the decisions they make because that’s what informs winning marketing campaigns. The more you know about how your target customer prefers to learn and shop for a product the easier you can make it for them to find your company and make a purchase with you. Use the research you have on your target market to determine the best marketing channels and messages to focus on when you’re creating a new marketing campaign and remember that what you say is more important than how you say it, so focus on your research over trying to come up with catchy taglines.
– Katie Fellenz, Head of Marketing, Trust & Will
Conducting market research is a critical process for any business that wants to grow their business and increase market share. Performing market research can help you gain insight into critical business intelligence such as defining who your customers are, allow for product testing, and create targeted marketing. There are a variety of methods you can use to conduct market research and it will vary based on the type of information you are after.
For instance, interviewing employees can provide valuable information as front line employees have a unique view of your customers and the products or services they are asking for. Focus groups give you the chance to interview customers and hear first hand how your company is positioned in the market. And finally, online and telephone survey tools to current and future customers can be a cost-effective way of conducting market research
– Taylor Roberts, Owner, Movers Chicago
Well-conducted market research can complement business marketing efforts and perfect the sales funnel, particularly if the data is unique and not available in the public domain. For example, as a direct homebuyer, we’ve collated data from across the country which shows how quickly it takes for people to generally sell in their areas. We’ve worked this into our marketing as a means of demonstrating how our buying service is faster. It’s been used as a lead generating tool and also as a means to offer our guaranteed service (i.e. people can see that our own process is at least 3 times faster than a conventional home sale). In September, we organically generated 24 leads via this tool and converted 1 into a sale. We’re also collecting historic data so we can expand on the tool to show how the data changes over time. It’s definitely giving us an edge over our competitors.
– Ruban Selvanayagam, Co-Founder, Property Solvers
So many business owners and entrepreneurs think that market research is this big, complicated thing and while you can conduct structured surveys and questionnaires, you can simply ask your customers directly what they think of an idea that you may have. Sometimes that direct, informal approach can give you the best feedback; because it doesn’t seem so structured and rigid, persons are willing to share more and you’ll be able to get much more information.
I would recommend that when collecting information ask persons who fall within your target audience. Asking persons outside your target will give you a false reading and you will be getting feedback from persons who more than likely aren’t going to purchase from you anyway. Think of it this way, if you’re launching an alcoholic beverage, information from nondrinkers won’t help. Asking friends or family for advice would be detrimental because they are not your ideal target, nor do they fully understand the journey you are on. You may get an outright and aggressive no or a very passive yes, neither of which will assist.
– Carla Williams Johnson, Media Marketing Specialist, Carli Communications
There are really two ways to improve your business and your offerings. The first is through anecdotal patterns that you see emerging from your interactions with clients. This is where they start asking you for the same services over and over, and now you know it’s something that you may want to branch out into offering. The second way is through market research, and this presents more challenges.
For example, market research must be based on some data set, and sometimes it is difficult to know how accurate the data set is or if it covers a market completely or only partially. Then, conduct in the market research it helps if you have a background in managing data or statistics in order to know how to search out the gold in the market research data. And also, it helps to know how to leverage technology to avoid spending hours and hours parsing the data. This is where taking a class on Microsoft Excel could come in handy unless you already know Excel really well or have another program that works better.
– Joshua Ladick, Founder and President, GSA Focus, Inc
The question I have here is to improve what. At an early-stage company, we’ve used surveys of both existing fans and people who don’t know about us to hone our target market. One thing for example that we were able to tease out between doing some qualitative analysis and surveys is that a defining characteristic of our audience is having a goal. It can be any goal, but that was a big differentiator in people who are interested in our product. Since we’re still a ways out from launch, we used this to inform our content strategy and outreach to our audience.
There are other things you can do to improve a business by careful listening with market research, and it can be used as both a tool to generate awareness of issues that need to be addressed (such as customer satisfaction or loyalty style research) or to help make decisions around key elements of a product or strategy.
– Carla Borsoi, Vice President of Marketing and CX, humm
One way to use market research to improve your business is to find a group of your ideal customer target market and let them try out your product or service for a few weeks. Then, ask them specific questions to get their general feedback and to find out if it is something they would ever pay for and why or why not as well as what you can do to improve it. This is a great way to get feedback directly from your target market and use it to make improvements to your product and messaging.
– Stacy Caprio, Marketing, AcneScar.org
By working across several different companies, I have seen first-hand how market research can directly influence a company’s strategic initiatives and priorities. Market research can provide key information on customer trends, industry shifts, and help project where things will go in the future. Especially during times of tremendous change, such as this year, more information on customer trends can help businesses make informed decisions. There are two distinctly effective ways to conduct market research: surveys aimed at a large audience, in addition to first-hand, one-on-one research.
Surveys can be helpful when you are seeking input on broad questions, have the opportunity to standardize responses and need large amounts of data. If you have a large number of customers already, running surveys can be simple, quick, and extremely effective to get a pulse from your customer base; however, running surveys is the wrong approach if you aren’t seeking standardized responses.
One-on-one research is the best way to go deeper with customers, learn more about their perspective, and ask more open-ended questions. When multiple-choice questions won’t allow you to capture all the information you are looking for, it is likely that speaking with customers or experts is the best way to go. This can also be especially helpful early on in order to understand the right questions to ask in a survey. You will be surprised how many target customers are open to discussing an idea or helping with market research if you reach out directly or through social media.
– David Kolodny, Co-Founder, Wilbur Labs
For any credible marketing plan, competitive market research is very important. Although many people give this a negative connotation the reality is that it has nothing to do with infiltrating or snooping around. Every credible firm conducts this kind of research to formulate their future marketing plan. This involves the evaluation of competitor’s assets and weaknesses and their products which helps the companies in getting know about the market’s current trends.
There are many ways of conducting this research. After identifying your competitors, take a look at their online marketing strategies, their virtual presence, and their social media involvement. Check out their website and their blog posts. Research about the content they are writing about and plan yours accordingly. There are various tools that can aid you in this process but Google Keyword Planner is among the best. Through this, you can look out for consumer behavior and competitive products and services.
– Jennifer Willy, Editor, Etia.Com
For small business owners like me, we can’t leave any room for mistakes. One decision can make or break our business, thus we should critically analyze our decisions on where we should put our money. This is where market research becomes a crucial part of our process.
Market research manifests evidence, it separates facts from the concoction. Thus, it allows us to retrieve the first-hand information from our consumers to meet their needs. This type of consumer intelligence bridges the gap of what they need vs what you can offer. You can strategize and tailor-fit your product to what they want and what they prefer.
One effective way to conduct market research today is through product trials. This serves as the dry run if your product will be embraced by the consumers. Through product trials, you can measure their feedback and opinion as to what works for them and what’s not. Also, through this, you will be able to evaluate and assess the actual responses from the product trials. Allowing you to invest in the right decision that will create a competitive value and generate more savings.
– James Pearson, CEO, eVenturing Enterprises
Market research helps businesses with limited resources to reduce their financial risks. This means the firm should be really accurate with their data. There is a plethora of new solutions and algorithms available to market researchers which promises instant answers and solutions; however, the accuracy of these solutions would be in question when not accompanied by marketing research that is grounded in social and behavioral science. when in doubt, double-check. An organization may have to look beyond those inexpensive software solutions to get accurate data to make the best decisions for their company. To boost your marketing research, ensure you incorporate the relevant methods in your annual business plan.
– Natik Ameen, Marketing Expert, Canz Marketing
The best market research comes from talking with customers. This means it’s less about buying industry reports and more about conducting your own research with phone calls, emails, or texts. Call your customers or send them a text. If you have a trusted brand and aren’t trying to sell, they’ll be more receptive than you’d think.
– Darren Litt, CEO, Hiya Health
There’s no such thing as a good or a bad market research technique. It’s about timing and relevance.
At the startup stage, it’s uber-important to run the proof of concept test with your potential customers. You may reach out to those people on LinkedIn saying that you plan to launch a product that would make their lives easier and offer them a free account or a sample of the physical product in exchange for 10 minutes of their time. Then, you just need to talk to them to verify their needs and pain points. Remember that you are wearing a researcher’s hat: ask for their opinion, and don’t sell your product. This type of conversation will help you position your business correctly, select the right set of features, save plenty of money on unnecessary developments, and come up with a smart pricing scheme.
– llia Termeno, Director, Extrabrains! Marketing Agency
In times of uncertainty and recession, B2B organizations should use market research to get back to the basics and ensure they are well-positioned for profitable market share growth. The most effective way to do this is to question best practices and conduct bespoke research that will generate insights you can actually use to defend and grow your business.
For example, do you really need a large and representative sample of your customer base, or do you want to focus on the 20% of your customers which probably generates 80% of your revenue? Do you want to run basic calculations to get things like your Net Promoter Score and customer satisfaction ratings, or do you want to weigh the data so each respondent represents their share of revenue? Do you want a web survey that gives you a diagnosis, or do you want an in-depth qualitative approach to get the prescription as well? Nearly every B2B organization has some degree of customer concentration, and this can’t be ignored when designing, analyzing, and acting on your market research initiatives. B2B companies that are getting the most ROI from their research budget are those which focus on the accounts that matter most and go deep to understand how to capture wallet share.
– Anthony Bahr, Managing Director, Strategex
In today’s modern, tech-friendly world, the best way to conduct market research is to talk to your current customers and find out why they chose your product over others. This can include cool tools like heat maps and further research into data analytics; however, without actually conducting focus groups, surveys, and reviews, the information will be less valuable. For instance, not all of the visitors to your website turn into buyers. It can be valuable to know why they left your site, too. Focus groups of your target market can help to clarify this, as you can ask them why they didn’t or wouldn’t buy your product or services.
– Melanie Green, Content Director, Kitely Tech
Market research is one of the most important things you can do as a company. You have to have an understanding of how much share your competition has, what their brand presence and awareness looks like, how users connect and engage with their product or service, and how the company is interacting with their community. This will allow you to set realistic goals and expectations for your business, establishing benchmarks based on competitor performance.
How you conduct your market research will vary depending on what product or service you have to offer, but should always start with analyzing the competition.
Go back to the 4 P’s of marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Analyze what your competitors are doing in each category and write down any gaps in between your strategy and theirs. What seems to be working well for them is equally as important as to what is not working well.
Use social listening to find out how people are talking about your brand as well as your competitors. What is the sentiment like? What is loyalty like? See how users are giving you feedback and establish new ways to collect feedback if necessary (e.g. site surveys, email surveys, social media polls, asking for reviews, etc.). This is a low-cost method for figuring out what your customer wants and needs are, determining ways to capitalize on growth, and figuring out where your areas of opportunity to improve are.
– Katie Bradley, Strategic Marketing Manager, Postali
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