Market research is an essential part of businesses across all industries. Research gives companies the tools they need to make informed decisions based on data and not just speculation. There are many different types of market research used by companies including brand research, competitor research, marketing research, consumer research, product development, and much more. All of these types of research are important and have their own place in a business’s strategy, but how do you make sure that the research is productive? Here are EMW’s 5 tips to ensure your market research dollars are productive and result in insights that push your company forward.
1. Ask the right questions
When conducting market research, there are different ways to go about it. Some common methods include online searching and making calls or contacting people who are more in the know than your company about a specific topic. Whatever method you decide to use, it’s important to ask the right questions starting at the beginning of the research process. Without asking the right questions in your research, you’ll never be able to come up with the answers that your company needs to advance your business. It is important to invest time in identifying questions that will uncover insights at the core of your market research objectives. As a general rule of thumb – thoughtful questions yield thoughtful feedback.
2. Clearly define your market research objectives
When researching, it’s common to find some information, data or statistics that appear relevant for your company but result in being a distraction from the project’s principal goals. It’s important to stay focused on the objective of the research to avoid wasting time on irrelevant information. Before beginning research, it is vital to clearly define the objective of the project and stick to finding information that relates to that. Understanding and maintaining focus on overarching goals of the research is crucial to producing an end product that answers your company’s burning questions.
3. Talk to customers and end users
An online search is a great place to start the market research process and a great way to gather data, but there are many other methods to further advance your knowledge. Talking to customers and end users is a great method to understanding your product and its perception within the market. Many times, end users provide the most valuable insights, providing an outside perspective, which helps glean valuable, unequaled feedback. Additionally, customers provide information that oftentimes expedites the research process by helping researchers understand where to best focus their time. Although information from the internet might be easy to access, be sure to go directly to the source as well.
4. Talk to competitors
Just as understanding your customers is important, it’s equally important to understand where your company stands in comparison with your competitors. It’s paramount to understand your place in the market in order to advance your business and achieve your goals. When conducting market research try to find a way to get the inside information on what your competition is doing. Knowing how your competition operates and their overall strategy and objectives will help you make an informed decision when creating your own strategy.
5. Be realistic about your time and budget constraints
Market research can be a lengthy process and use up many hours and resources. It’s essential to know exactly what you want to achieve during the research process so that time isn’t wasted finding semi-relevant information. Market research should have a concise goal and it is unrealistic to expect all the answers if there isn’t room in the budget to find those answers. If operating on a small budget, try brainstorming ways to maximize your research by adjusting the methodology, objective, or scope of research in order to get the answers needed to reach your business objectives without burning through valuable, limited resources.