A Symphony That Connects the Dots: The Essentials of Market Research Explained in 8 Crucial Stages

A Symphony That Connects the Dots: The Essentials of Market Research Explained in 8 Crucial Stages

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Carrying out market research is an essential activity when you are thinking about launching a business, want to find out more about the likely interest in a product or service that you want to offer, or simply require some vital insights to help you plan your next move.


Here is a look at some of the primary components of carrying out market research, including why you should tackle the task of data collection in stages, what questions to ask for the most useful responses, plus an overview of how to get the most out of research activities.


Breaking down how you collect your data


It is generally considered that you can break down the process of market research into two distinct categories.


The first stage is to carry out primary research, which is gathering all of the information you need from a variety of different sources. This data is normally gathered from a wide range of different sources and involves asking key questions in a number of different ways and formats.


Primary research covers actions such as conducting online surveys, carrying out telephone-based information gathering and even putting together a focus group to get vital feedback.


If you are trying to market research crowd funding, for example, you would want to speak to people who have firsthand experience of raising money in this way and speak to investors who have put their cash into one of these lending platforms, so that you can see things from all perspectives.


The second stage of your market research would be to review all of the data that you have gathered and put it into a format that allows you the opportunity to draw some firm conclusions and identify certain trends and statistics that could prove useful.


Collecting data


The success of your market research depends greatly on the quality of the data you gather and it often pays to keep this in mind when you are putting together a checklist of questions that you want to try and find the answers to.


Market research is vital to businesses of all sizes, and when the task is carried out successfully, it can help give your business a vital competitive edge and will allow you the opportunity to make a better-informed decision when you are armed with all the salient facts.


Doing the number-crunching


Data collection can be broken down into two very distinct categories, mathematical analysis in the form of quantitive data, followed by qualitative methods deployed to bring that data to life in the form of opinions and other insights that can’t always be gleaned from a set of numbers, however revealing they might seem.


Cast your net wide


A basic function of market research is to get as diverse a set of opinions and insights across the whole spectrum of your target audience rather than focusing on too narrow a group.


A common mistake that can be made with some market research data is to only ask questions to a group of people that you already know about or who are likely to have specific opinions and a fixed outlook based on their demographic.


Where market research truly comes alive is when you widen your audience and get a much broader response to analyze.


Don’t restrict your sources


It can be very tempting to take what might be perceived as the easy route for data gathering a use a number of readily available online resources.


It only takes a few clicks to enter a search criteria and find what looks like a decent amount of quality research data.


The problem with this approach is that you are not breaking new ground and will not be getting all the answers you want because people will often provide different answers and more in-depth responses face-to-face, compared to answering an online survey.


Create a market research checklist that includes a range of different resources rather than relying on the internet alone to gather the information you are looking for.


Asking the right questions


It stands to reasons that in order to get the sort of useful data that you want for your market research you will have to ask the right questions.


Think carefully about what it is you want to know and shape the questions in such a way that you will be able to get the answers that will help you get the most value out of the exercise.


Some typical questions that should help elicit an insightful response include asking the respondent what they specifically like or dislike about a particular product or service, and what factors are considered specifically important when they are making a purchasing decision.


Other key areas of questioning surround pricing, and how this plays a part in their decision to buy, and asking for feedback on aspects of a product or service that could with improving.


Ways of finding your target audience


It can help to define a recruiting process and work out who you should be putting your questions to and how to engage them in a way that they will be willing to respond to.


Most of the major market research companies invest in creating a panel of participants who meet a specific demographic that they can tap into when they are carrying out a survey for a client.


Think about how you can use your own resources to create a similarly useful list.


Asking customers who have recently engaged with your business and made a purchase already will be a valuable source of useful research data. It is also a good idea to try and get a response from people who made contact with you at some point about what you have to offer, but didn’t go through with a purchase.


Finding out why they decided not to become a customer will provide invaluable feedback that you can use to try and improve your conversion rate.


Use social media platforms to engage with people and view what opinions they have on your business and the industry you are in.


If you follow these basic preparatory steps and carry out an action plan based on these strategies you should be able to make an action plan for going forward based on some useful market research data.

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