Posted: Mon 7th Apr 2014
Enterprise Nation Marketplace adviser Simon Shepherd sent in this guest post on the benefits of doing market research. Is a 'guesstimate', he asks, good enough? Or are you leaving your business in the dark?
Here are some fundamental questions to ask about your business...
Do you know your market?
Do you have an insight of what your target audience's wants and needs are?
How do you compare to the competition?
If a company does not know the answer to the above questions then maybe your company plans their entire marketing activities based on a "guesstimate".
It is advisable to have data coming from different sources but it means little if this is not looked at properly and analyse it thoroughly and by properly researching your market you get one step ahead and have an advantage against your competitors.
Market research is a systematic, objective collection and analysis of data about your target market, competition, and/or environment and your goal should be to increase your understanding of them. Indeed the power of information is outstanding when it comes to market research and the information can guide your most important strategic business decisions.
Some of the major benefits of market research are to:
Guide your communication with current and potential customers.
Once you have your research results, you should have enough ammunition to formulate the most effective way to communicate to your customers. Ideally we should know what they like/don't like to hear/see/do and can tailor what you say to them to make them take action.
Help identify opportunities in the marketplace.
Research might make it obvious that a new product or offering you have planned may not be what your market wants or needs and can then decide to make modifications on what you are going to offer to suit your audience.
Measure your reputation.
It's always good to know how you measure against your competitors. Market research finds out just where you are and then, according to the results, you can take action to change perception.
Uncover and identify potential problems.
You can get consumers' reactions to a new product or service when it is still being developed. This should enlighten any further development so it suits its intended market.
Help you plan ahead.
Research can estimate the likely sales of a new product/service and also the advertising expenditure required to achieve maximum profits.
Help you establish your market positioning.
It's important to know the position of your business at particular moments in time. Information from market research helps you benchmark and monitor your progress, which can be useful to make decisions and take action.
In summary, we work with clients across all sectors on the development of a marketing plan, but we encourage clients to conduct some research in advance as it is an invaluable tool - as the old maxim says, "Best to measure twice and cut once to maximise your returns".
If you had the choice of speaking to a good sample of your customers or be left in the dark only with your assumptions, what would you choose?
To find out more about market research or for help with building a marketing plan contact Simon Shepherd via his Enterprise Nation Marketplace profile.