Market research means gathering information on the market your business operates in – your competitors, products and customers, as well as the general industry environment.
Market research is hugely important to make sure you’re focusing your efforts in the right areas, and to make sure you aren’t missing opportunities for growth.
Here’s a basic overview of market research.
Why do market research?
Market research could mean the difference between success and failure for your business. Knowledge is power – it can help you to advertise effectively, develop successful new products, meet customer needs and outpace your competitors. Research should form the backbone of your business strategy.
Sources of market research could include:
- Surveys and questionnaires – these can give basic numbers, for example, the percentage of customers who would be interested in a proposed product, or more in-depth feelings and opinions, such as ideas on what new features people might want to see in your products.
- Customer discussion panels – these are good for drawing out opinions on complex issues and bouncing around ideas.
- Trade associations and business support organisations may be able to provide market reports and statistics.
- Online – there is a huge wealth of free information available online. Look at forums, blogs and social media for grass-roots opinions, as well as industry websites for expert analysis.
- Market research agencies can carry out bespoke research on your market for a fee, tailored to the questions you want answering. This could be a good option if you don’t have the in-house resources to do your own research.
Before you start, you will need to have a clear idea of exactly what you want to find out from your research. This will help you choose the right source of information, and get insights that you can act on.
Along with understanding the current state of your market, understanding how it changes over time is vital. By tracking industry trends, you can future-proof your offering.
The march of technology is a clear recent case. Companies which have embraced changes in technology have flourished, whereas those that were slower on the uptake – or failed to move with the times at all – have suffered.
Kodak is a good example of this. Despite being a hugely successful retailer of camera film and equipment, they didn’t move quickly enough with the advent of digital camera technology.
Your industry will have its own trends. Keeping up with industry press and internet reporting, especially expert analysis, is absolutely key to spotting future trends. You can also follow how competitors are changing their business models.
Set aside a regular time to catch up on your industry and think about how market research could help your business to avoid being left behind.
This article is provided only for general informational and educational purposes. It is not offered as and does not constitute legal or other professional advice on the subject matter in question. You should not act or rely on information contained in this website without first seeking professional advice on the subject matter in question.