Market Research 101 - A go-to guide for your next market research

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A go-to guide for entrepreneurs who want to get better at researching and implementing their research effectively.

2 min read

Research is step 1 of each plan of your business strategy - be it product development, product distribution or marketing. Without legitimate market research, no business is bound to thrive. As an entrepreneur, your aim should be to understand the reasons why consumers will buy your product, what is the relative competition in the vertical, how does your product fit in the socio-cultural factors, how does it influence it, and what will drive the consumers to buy your product. Good market research will offer answers to all of these questions, from there it’s your job to take insights and implement those in your business plan.

You have two styles of research to choose from - 1) Primary - where you talk to the potential customers directly, to gather the data, through interviews, online polls will the TG, 2) Secondary - where you take research studies and TG data that others have gathered, which can either online reports, or blogs written about the industry. Any of the two approaches can work for you. You can also go ahead and combine the two styles if that can give you a more comprehensive perspective.

The questions that you would absolutely want to cover in your study are:

Who are your customers? - Write a character sketch to have a better perspective of your TG - mention their age bracket, occupation, income, lifestyle, city, education qualification etc.

What do they consume now? - Pen down your TG’s buying pattern relating to your product or industry. How much and how often do they buy, their favored suppliers, most liked product features and how price determine their choice?

Why do they buy? - You will need to delve deeper into the consumers’ mind to get the answer for this one, however, it will depend on the product and its uses.

Why will they choose your product over the competition? - This may go beyond just the USP you have to offer in the market.

Tapping into the right data resources and being thorough with your research will give you answers to most of your business dilemmas. There are certain companies that offer industry studies and credit reports on individual companies, but it doesn’t come cheap. And while they can prove to be a great resource, it’s always advised for businesses to conduct customized surveys and collect data on certain aspects which are particular to your business and may or may not be a part of the research available in the market. Your in-house research can include insights from your rival’s social media pages, gather detailed research on customers through Facebook, use Google Analytics to estimate the numbers which will pertain to your website visitors.

When you are trying to pit yourself against businesses and their data, find a company which is similar to you in scale, structure, and service.

Follow these steps to get the better value of your marketing money:

1. Take on more focused research, determine what you need to learn about your TG and the market you are treading in.

2. Know what result you need by the end of the research and be specific - you can’t research everything, so determine an insight that will give you the quickest payback, or help you align your business goals better

3. Look for less-expensive research procedures and companies that can help you develop customer surveys. But remember only to cut down on the cost, not on quality.

4. See how much will it cost you to perform the research yourself. Note that with the internet you won’t need to spend a lot. If you are considering hiring a consultant, sit him/her down, clearly communicate your business requirements and a particular result you are expecting from the research. Don’t pay for what you don’t need.

Have you undertaken any research for your business? Do share which style worked for you.

Himanshu Bhalla