You have probably heard about market research. It is often used by consumers to show they consider all the parameters of a product (quality features and price) before buying. This can be easily achieved by quickly searching online or in different physical stores.
However, when you have a business and you want to do market research, then things get a bit more complicated. Fortunately, there are lots of good techniques and tools that will help you get started. Here you will find the most common methodology, and some of our “secrets”.
What does market research do for a business?
Market research is the ultimate tool for your business. It will help you gather, process and utilise information needed to make strategic decisions. The main object of such research is to define your target market. How big it is, which are its needs and desires and how they get evolved.
Marketing research is often confused with market research. However, in this case we are talking mainly about marketing processes. Specifically, we refer to marketing research and the collection, analysis and processing of data. Through this process we are aiming at making decisions concerning the marketing strategy that we will follow or that we will reformulate. Market research can generate countless marketing processes, but it lacks important data which practically concerns a separate research.
Which are the steps that you will follow?
Although the market research steps vary, we could summarise them as follows:
Define the problem – Find the opportunity
The first step is to ask the question which needs to be answered. It depends on your purpose. You will ask different questions if you are now opening a business or a new branch and different ones if you are launching a new product and wonder about its impact. You will also seek different answers if you are planning a rebranding or changing your products’ image. You may even be looking for potential expansion opportunities and so you need more information on consumer needs. Whatever the case, you have to clearly define the problem and avoid too general or too specific questions.
Plan your research
During the second phase you will decide where to collect data from. You may have primary or secondary sources of information.
Secondary sources are pre-existing information. It is usually research done by others and data collected and archived. In the age of the internet, although a lot of information is accessible with a simple google search, it is not always reliable. You will find more accurate data from trade associations, chambers, published statistics and university surveys. The downside of these sources is that they are equally available to the competition. They will help you understand the market, but they will not give you the comparative advantage.
You will gather more and insight information from primary sources. This process includes personal interviews, projection techniques and questionnaires.
In this case, you should determine the sample that interests your research depending on the questions you have asked. Random samples are more representative of the market as a whole. However, you may want to study only a specific group of your targeted market, depending on age, gender, location and interests.
Data collection is the main phase, the implementation of your research. It can be done through personal contact, by phone or online.
Having gathered all the data of your market research, you will conduct the most important stage: data analysis. You need to verify, encode and finally record the data collected. I would say that this is perhaps the most crucial point. If you face problems or shortcomings, you may need to go back to data collection or even choose another method of research.
The research findings are recorded and summarised in a report with conclusions. If the research is successful, the findings should answer the original problem you posed.
The essence of market research is to define a new business strategy or renew an existing one. Whether you want to launch a new product or renew an existing one, you now have the data to make the right decision.
Market research in the digital environment
The Digital Marketing environment is known for the fact that there is always data available. In the market research field the possibilities and facilities are great.
There are plenty of tools to get primary data. Online questionnaires, ready-made advertising audiences to reach through paid ads, platforms and advertising tools, to evaluate even a business brand lift through Facebook / Google.
In the digital environment we can find countless tools that will help us conduct a to-the-point market research. Even more, if we go to marketing research we can find and evaluate our buyer persona. We could then target this audience through digital channels, to an extent that would not be possible in offline marketing.