You wonder what market research is, why you should spend money on it and how it can help your company to flourish. This article will respond to these questions. The market research is a process of gathering and analyzing information about market structure, available competitors, economic trends, technical achievements, target customers and many other factors that form a particular business sphere. It is a major component in determining the business strategy at both stages: start-up and further development. This term is often confused with marketing research. However, there is the apparent difference. Marketing research tends to market processes, while market research tends to exactly markets.
The market study is a core driver to take priority over competitors, as not every entrepreneur wishes to spend money on the so-to-say-not-important analysis of sphere of business activity. The results of the investigation are the foundation of all successful commercial establishments as it provides a wealth of information about prospective and existing customers, the competition and the industry by and large.
There are two types of this research: primary and secondary also known as third-party. The primary one is investigated through focus groups, online or offline surveys or just questioning existing clients about their expectations by yourself or a person hired for this purpose. This is not any cost campaign. You will require extra capital for this purpose. Online surveys are not so costly to launch, and you can dish out questionnaires up on social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Or you (of course not exactly you, but you’re subordinate) can hand out paper questionnaires on the streets. Yes, people still do that, especially in the food trade. If your company has some product or service innovation, put up a form asking for feedback. The secondary one is investigated by specialized organizations, trade associations, government agencies or other businesspersons. These results are already at your disposal.
Given the fact that small businesses competed in the past, these local small businesses and their customers were known, nowadays a small business competes in a much larger field. They face not only local competitors, but also international ones, and often these competitors are larger and able to source and sell cheaper than you. Thus financing for marketing is a matter of the near future.
This investigation might come at a price – in time, money and effort, especially if your business is local and limited. However, it is a valuable growth tool for businesses regardless of its size. It can be difficult to take a guess what you need to know, and how to do this research. That is why we gathered five tips to ease your market research and let your small business have higher sales.
Tip #1: Your goals?
Figuring out what you are trying to achieve next in your business, will help you to work out a research project that gets the results you need. You need to be clear about your research goals and how these will influence your company’s performance. Define what you want to aim: traffic building, increase in sales or quantity of regular customers.
Tip #2: Prospective and existing customers
Keep in mind that your business has a defined audience. Knowing your specific customers allows you to understand what special language to use, and how to approach strong relationships with your customer. If you determine you’re prospective and existing customer clear & carefully, you can find the best products and services to offer them. Find out their age, income, marital status, and educational level, basically, everything that can help you to transfer them into regular clients.
Tip #3: Define the customers who you serve and who you do not
Well, you can already classify your clients by age, gender, etc. And this is time to know the groups of people who you do not serve and do not plan to serve in the nearest future. For small business would be the best advantage to focus on the targeted segment of people, that will help you definitely to grow. Let’s take as an example a restaurant that has specified pricing policy and standards. Will you try to attract a hipster student to visit your place? It’s okay to define who is not a part of your targeted audience as you will be to serve best with your products and services YOUR customers.
Tip #4: Learn from your competition
If you have a possibility to visit your business rival’s company, you can take a look at it from the customer point of view. You will easy notice what is done right and wrong, the areas that need attention or improvement, the quality of their products and customer service. In this way, you can dig up a lot of information to help you determine your unique selling position and create even better offers for your customers.
Tip #5: Find the key to customer satisfaction
The only way to satisfy your customer is to find out first off their desires. A good customer survey is a great market research tool for outside-in thinking. However, be mindful of some harsh feedbacks, so respond to criticism positively and use it to advantage in the right direction. You can give your customers who fill out surveys some unique gifts, bonuses or purchase discounts.
As Titus Maccius Plautus said: “You must spend money to make money,” so put some money into Market Research to take advantage and if you do not have enough investments for it apply to the alternative lender that will finance your activities and the company’s development will not keep you waiting!