Market research is a set of ideas used to collect information in a bid to better understand a company’s target market. It is a tool used by businesses to gather information to design better products, improve user experience, as well as design a marketing message that attracts quality leads and improve conversion rates.
Importance of Market Research
Market research plays a very vital role if businesses are to understand their users. It gives you a deeper understanding of what consumers want and how well you can satisfy them.
With research, you won’t assume. It helps eliminate guesswork and put you in the right position of knowing what to do at the right time.
Research keeps you from planning in a vacuum and helps you make just the right decision that your customers need and appreciate.
Four common research methods can be used to conduct market research and collect customer data. They include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and customer observation.
The survey method is used to ask users a short series of open- or closed-ended questions, which can be delivered as an on-screen questionnaire or through an email. This method has proved so far to be the most commonly used market research technique.
Survey research is easy and inexpensive to conduct, and a lot of data can be collected quickly. Also, the data is simple and straightforward to analyze, even when it comes to analyzing open-ended questions whose answers might initially appear difficult to categorize.
Next up, we have the interview research method, which is considered the most insightful research method. It is a one-on-one conversation with members of your target market. It helps you speak directly with a customer, which can help you gain greater empathy for their experience.
The focus group market research method brings together a group of people that have been carefully selected. This group fits a company’s target market. Here a trained moderator leads a conversation surrounding the product, user experience, and/or marketing message to gain deeper insights.
This method is not recommended if you are just starting, as it is very expensive and your research could be susceptible to errors if you cut corners.
The observation method is considered the most powerful research method. During a customer observation session, someone from the company takes notes, while watching an ideal user engage with their product (or a similar product from a competitor).
This method is less expensive.
How to Carry Out Market Research
Who are your buyer personas?
This is the first step you have to take if you are to know how customers in your industry make buying decisions. You must understand who they are.
Buyer personas who are sometimes referred to as marketing personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. With them, you can visualize your audience, streamline your communications, and inform your strategy. Here are the key characteristics you should look out for in your buyer persona:
- Job title(s)
- Family size
- Major challenges.
Identify a Portion of the Persona to Engage
This next step requires you to find a representative sample of your target customers to understand their actual characteristics, challenges, as well as buying habits.
Now, these should be people who have recently made a purchase or those who have purposefully decided not to make one. They can be met in some ways:
- In-person through a focus group.
- Administering an online survey
- Individual phone interviews.
Engage your Market Research Participants
To better engage your market research participants, here is what you should do:
- Pen out a list of customers who made a recent purchase.
- Write out a list of customers who were in an active evaluation, but did not make a purchase.
- Reach out for people who follow you on social media, but do not buy from you.
- Take advantage of your network.
- Then choose an incentive.
Prepare your Research Questions
Create a discussion guide and get prepared, and make sure you cover all of the most mind bugging questions and use your time wisely.
List your Primary Competitors
This is to help you start your secondary market research. Identify your competitors, so you know exactly what you are up against.
Summarize your Findings
After you have done all that is necessary, you need to summarize your findings. It is best to look for common themes that will help you tell a story and create a list of action items.
- To make a clear summary, analyze why you conducted the study as well as your goals.
- Analyze the participants you talked to.
- Replay all the most interesting things you learned, and how do you plan to use it.
- Analyze the common triggers that can lead someone to enter into an evaluation.
- Offer the main themes you uncovered and the detailed sources buyers will use when conducting their evaluation.
- Decide by painting a picture of how a decision is made by including those at the center of influence as well as any product features or information that either make or mar the deal.
- Carve out an action plan that will provide your list of priorities, a timeline as well as the impact it will have on your business.