Market research can help you guide your marketing strategy by providing your business with information about the market you are operating in, your competition and opportunities to further develop channels and partnerships in that market.
It also gives you a clearer idea of your target audience, its demographics, opinions and attitudes towards your brand, your products and your services.
Here are a few elements to consider when planning you market research.
What to Measure
When running market research you can decide to focus on your brand, your products and services or better understand the overall market you are operating in or the one that you like to enter.
If you want to better understand how you brand, products and services are perceived, you can focus on those elements that can help you improve your products and provide a better customer experience such as:
Brand reputation. How is your brand perceived by your customers?
Customers' opinions about your products and services
Use of your products and services by your customers.
On the other hand, if you are interested in analysing the market you are in or are looking to enter, here are some key elements you can measure with market research:
How big is your market in terms of sales transactions?
Supply and Demand
This is a starting point for your research as it will provide insights on the availability of similar products and services in your market and what the demand for those products and services is. These two elements can often change as they are dependent upon changes in demographics and customers' purchasing power based on income and the economy.
What are the main trends in the market that can have an impact on your products and services? For example, are there alternative products being launched in the market? Are there new technologies available and is the market experiencing mergers and acquisitions?
Is the market growing compared to previous years or is it contracting in terms of sales transactions and increased competition?
What are the main distribution channels in your market? Are sales mainly occurring in store or online and are there large distributors you can partner with to accelerate growth?
Besides the volume of transactions you might want to consider the profitability of those transactions and the purchasing power of the customers in that market. This will provide information on whether you will need to revisit your pricing strategy, your costing or your distribution channels.
It is important to understand the market environment your business is operating in, including political, economic, social, legal, environmental and technological aspects that can have an impact on your operations.
How to Measure
Once you have decided what to measure you might want to consider what market research approaches you want to adopt.
Depending on whether you are analysing the market or your customers you might need to decide if you require quantitative or qualitative analysis or both.
For research focused on your market it is appropriate to use quantitatve analysys as well as secondary data you can find from the office of national statistics or market research firms.
On the other hand, if the purpose of your research is to find out the opinions, attitudes and behaviours of your customers you can adopt qualitative research methods such as:
face to face interviews
online polls and surveys.
For surveys you can use platforms like Survey Monkey or YouGov or appoint a market research firm that specialises in the industry of your choice.
When running surveys it is important to consider the quality and dimension of your panel as well as the type of questions you want to ask. Open questions are good to gain the opinions of your customers but they provide a less structured output.
Multiple choice or closed questions are better suited if you are trying to segment your audience and gain a more structured output that can be easily communicated visually (to know how to segment your audience read our article on buyers' personas).
How to Use you Research
Last but not least the final step of your market research is the analysis of your data you have collected.
Make sure that the data you have obtained is still relevant and applicable to your marketing strategy. Select the data that can provide clear actionable insights to your marketing and eliminate the data that is not - you can always use that data later on.
If you are using the research to guide your marketing strategy, define clear actions you can take based on the data checking that the data is accurate and statistically significant.
If you need advice on how to conduct market research for your business get in touch today.