Market research should never be underestimated. Many successful new businesses enjoy longevity because their owners conduct regular market research to understand their target market, identify consumer problems and pinpoint realistic competitors.

It’s the simplest way for entrepreneurs to keep up with market trends and maintain a competitive edge by sizing up your business opportunity.

Market research can be carried out at various stages of a business life cycle, from pre-launch and beyond. Having a greater understanding of your marketplace from the very start will enable you to create a sound business strategy to establish and grow your brand into one that’s better than the competition.

Define the objectives of your market research

The scope of the market research you’ll undertake is influenced by your overall objectives – what do you want to learn about your market and the external factors influencing it?

The objectives will also determine the types of market research that you need to undertake in order to be successful:

Primary market research covers the following:

  • Monitoring the effectiveness of sales
  • Ascertaining the quality of services provided by competitors
  • Understanding the channels of communication used by competitors
  • Assess the active competition within the market

Secondary market research covers the following:

  • Published company reports data
  • Existing surveys and studies
  • Newspaper reports
  • Government data

Primary market research is a kind of market research that can be carried out individually or as a business, with the aim of collecting unique data that can be used to improve products, services and overall functionality.

Secondary market research is a different type of market research as it relies on information that’s already available from a variety of sources.

The key steps of successful market research

There are four important steps to any successful market research study:

  • Investigate whether similar research has previously been carried out
  • If so, analyse the existing relevant data that meets your objectives – providing it meets your budget
  • How will the existing data be used and by whom?
  • Do you need to conduct your own primary market research too? If so, with whom?

Understanding the types of customer you’ll encounter

Most new businesses will encounter three different types of customer; market research gives you the ability to understand how your target customers think and adapt to their needs in order to turn them into regular customers and brand advocates.

The ‘savvy’ purchaser
This type of customer is someone that’s not necessarily concerned with the quality or effectiveness of a product or service, but is intent on getting the best possible value. A ‘savvy’ customer is someone that’s likely to be aware of all the prices offered by your major competitors, so you’ll need to carry out secondary market research to understand whether your products or services will be priced competitively.

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