Market research is possibly the most important part of starting a business.
How we conduct it though has changed.
There are numerous old and new ways to gain feedback from potential customers, which we have outlined below.
Thanks to Hubspot.com for this great content. Be sure to check out the link at the bottom of the page to do more of a deep dive into the topic.
121 interviews and face-to-face discussions give you the opportunity to ask specific questions to your potential buyer. You might do this at a market stall, a trade show or even on Zoom. Use the time to try and understand if your product or service is a good fit.
Remember this is NOT a sales call. You want your potential customer to open up, without the feeling that it is just a clumsy set up to sell them something. Do it with authenticity and you will be amazed at the results!
2. Focus Groups
Focus groups provide you with a handful of carefully-selected people that you can have test out your product, watch a demo, provide feedback, and/or answer specific questions. This type of market research can give you ideas for product differentiation, or the qualities of your product that make it unique in the marketplace. Consider asking your focus group questions about (and showing them examples of) your services, and ultimately use the group's feedback to make these services better.
3. Product/Service Use Research
This gives you an opportunity to actually TEST your product or service with potential customers. Have you ever been in a supermarket and they are giving away cheese, cold meats or another new product for free? This is because they know and understand the value of customer feedback.
Remember, this is going to be your first draft so you MIGHT get criticism! Take it on board and use it to improve your offering.
4. Observation-Based Research
Maybe you are running a fitness class and you can take a session to get someone else to run it and just observe. Record how participants are interacting and follow up with them afterward.
5. Buyer Persona Research
Buyer persona research gives you a realistic look at who makes up your target audience, what their challenges are, why they want your product or service, what they need from your business and brand, and more.
Consider who your ideal buyer is. Go and speak to them and find out what their needs are.
6. Market Segmentation Research
Market segmentation research allows you to categorize your target audience into different groups (or segments) based on specific and defining characteristics — this way, you can determine effective ways to meet their needs, understand their pain points and expectations, learn about their goals, and more.
Maybe you are selling your product to multiple groups and you are trying to identify who is best to focus on. Is it the over 60s or new graduates?
7. Pricing Research
Pricing research gives you an idea of what similar products or services in your market sell for, what your target audience expects to pay — and is willing to pay — for whatever it is you sell, and what's a fair price for you to list your product or service at. All of this information will help you define your pricing strategy.
8. Competitive Analysis
Competitive analyses are valuable because they give you a deep understanding of the competition in your market and industry. You can learn about what's doing well in your industry, what your target audience is already going for in terms of products like yours, which of your competitors should you work to keep up with and surpass, and how you can clearly separate yourself from the competition.
9. Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty Research
Customer satisfaction and loyalty research give you a look into how you can get current customers to return for more business and what will motivate them to do so (e.g. loyalty programs, rewards, remarkable customer service). This research will help you discover the most-effective ways to promote delight among your customers.
10. Brand Awareness Research
Brand awareness research 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.
11. Campaign Research
Campaign research entails looking into your past campaigns and analyzing their success among your target audience and current customers. It requires experimentation and then a deep dive into what reached and resonated with your audience so you can keep those elements in mind for your future campaigns and hone in on the aspects of what you do that matters most to those people. Now that you know about the categories and types of market research, let's review how you can conduct your market research.
Here's how to do market research step-by-step: