Whether you work in a startup, own a small business, or are part of a large organization that is in the process of launching a new product, market research should be one of the first tasks that you undertake. According to Samuel L. Cornish from Durham University, Market Intelligence is information relevant to a company’s market, gathered and analyzed specifically for the purpose of accurate and confident decision-making in determining strategy in areas such as market opportunity, market penetration strategy and market development. There are two types of market research:
Primary Research is research that you conduct yourself. Either in the form of surveys, interviews, or observations, this is research that will tremendously help your business as you are able to get direct answers to your questions.
Secondary Research is research that already exists. In this day in age, people have a wealth of information at their fingertips. Secondary research is easier to find now more than ever before. It can be found in the form or surveys that others have conducted or even case studies.
Although there are two types of market research, it does not mean that you only pick one. The best research is conducted by using both types, primary and secondary. Market research should be an ongoing task in any organization, and here is why:
1. Market research helps you understand your customer There is no better way to understand your customer than to study them. Find out what they find valuable, what they feel can be improved, and how their needs are changing. When conducting surveys, do not simply ask “Would you like our product to have this?” Truth is, the average consumer does not know what they want. You have to ask questions and figure out what they want. As Henry Ford said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
2. Market research helps you keep a leg up on your competition Businesses are constantly fighting each other for customers, especially small businesses. By doing market research you will discover what customers want and be able to execute it before your competition does. Imagine if your competitors are doing market research and innovating new products but your business is still following old traditions. This can lead you down a dangerous path.
3. Market research may help you discover a market opportunity There are often holes in the market that businesses do not see because they are too busy running their business. There may be a possible hole to be filled that you can discover before anyone else, and if you act on it fast enough the returns would be tremendous.
Remember, market research is extremely important for a business of any size. Make sure to use primary as well as secondary research and execute on the findings.