An integral aspect for marketing strategies, market research is commonly overlooked and not given the importance that it deserves. Implemented effectively, it can help businesses by directing them to the right route when it comes to targeting their potential customers, rather than wasting money on strategies that don’t make the cut. In a nutshell, market research is the process of gathering, recording and analysing data which can be collected through both quantitative and qualitative methodologies.
Quantitative research leads to data from larger numbers of participants, where statistical insights can be gathered. One example of quantitative research would be surveys. Qualitative research would be targeted towards lesser volumes of participants, however typically delves into more detail. An example of qualitative research would be in-depth interviews.
One of the reasons why products and businesses may bite the bullet of failure is tied to poor and inadequate market research. We sit down with Founder and CEO of MYC, Simon Attard, and delve into the benefits and value of market research.
Identifying opportunities for new products and services
Better understanding the needs of current or prospective customers guides businesses to create or develop improved products and services. Developing or changing products and services can end up becoming a needlessly expensive exercise, especially if customer needs are not satisfied. Prior to the creation of a new offering, it is important that businesses understand what features are most paramount for customers, through proper data and not assumptions. Organisations need to ensure that the market would be willing to purchase the new product or service. There has to be a need for it, otherwise the project would be destined to fail.
Identifying new customer segments
Through market research, businesses can understand if their products might appeal to other customer segments which they may not be targeting. Market research enables companies to gather important data about new customer segments including demographics such as gender, age, income, occupation and lifestyle trends. These are necessary aspects to consider and can guide organisations on whether they should target different customer profiles.
Anticipate market trends
Not only does research enable businesses to gather an accurate snapshot of the markets that they are interested in, certain insights can allow them to anticipate future customer trends. Armed with this information, companies can take decisions and prepare for projects with a future-focused mindset, to stay ahead of the competition.
Maintain competitive edge
Research may be conducted for an in-depth analysis of the competition. This may help to provide an unbiased position of where your business stands with the competition. If competitors are moving ahead at a faster pace, the market research provides a good opportunity to understand what they are doing differently. With these insights, changes can take place within the business to gain a competitive edge.
Set the tone for marketing
At times, companies embark on marketing strategies without the necessary data in hand. Research and data can help guide businesses to choose the best marketing channels, enabling them to get the best return on investment for every Euro spent. Both human and financial resources are restricted in this day and age, so it stands to reason that these should be allocated towards the best serving strategies. Market research is therefore of vital importance to reduce risks as organisations undertake new projects and enhance the prospects of profitability.
Establish a proper SWOT analysis
Market research allows businesses to remain abreast of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Knowing where the business lies in terms of these four criteria will allow for improved decision making. Data at one’s disposal also allows for the identification of opportunities and threats, which might have not been clear prior to the market research.
Better understand the existing customer base
A market research activity may also be intended to better understand the existing customer base. There are several reasons why this may be beneficial. One example would be to gauge the customer satisfaction levels with the products and services offered. The data compiled from such an exercise would provide direction as to whether more investment needs to be allocated to the customer journey. This may potentially reveal customer thoughts and feelings about the products and services offered, and the company itself. Having this information at hand can bring about positive change, such as upgrades to the offering provided by the company.
Setting of objectives
Objective data allows businesses to see things from a proper viewpoint. This enables the organisation to set realistic goals that make sense and can be achieved with the right efforts. In this manner, businesses can plan for the future, setting goals that are attainable and predict performance prudently. Setting goals that do not make sense without referring to data can bring about imminent failure, destroying motivation.
If you would like to learn more about how to use market research for the benefit of your business, get in touch with Simon and the team by sending an email on [email protected]