Are you considering making a significant business decision soon? Before you make the jump, you need to do market research. This will help ensure that whatever move you’re considering making is the right one for the future of your enterprise.
Your customers’ needs, desires, and pain points and the factors that influence them are constantly changing, evolving, and shifting, especially in today’s dynamic commercial environment. Therefore, you, as an organization leader, need to know exactly where your target market’s preferences lie before you make changes that could alter the course of your business’s progress.
Companies that use outdated data to make these decisions — or, worse still, make them in the dark — are taking enormous risks that could cost them vast sums of money in the future. You can avoid a similar fate if you study the market you operate. And research the current industry environment to make intelligent investments and informed decisions.
You can use many market research methods to find out more about your customers’ wants, needs, preferences, and tendencies. Regardless of the size of your business. Techniques such as analyzing third-party data from free and paid sources, contacting your potential customers directly, conducting tests and experiments, and observing the habits of potential target markets can all further your cause. This ensures that you make healthy decisions for your business plan.
Table of Contents
- Is marketing research necessary for your business?
- Qualitative and Quantitative Results
- The 6 Most Cost-Effective Market Research Methods
- #1: Consumer Surveys
- #2: Individual Customer Interviews
- #3: Focus Group Meetings
- #4: Crowdsourcing and Social Media Listening
- #5: Overt and Covert Observation
- #6: Secondary Research Methods
- The Takeaway
Is marketing research necessary for your business?
The answer to this question depends on the type of business you are in. If you run a small retail store, it is probably unnecessary to do market research before launching your new product or service. However, if you plan to launch an online business, you must ensure that you have done enough market research to avoid making costly mistakes.
The answer is simple. Market research helps you know your customers better, and thus, it enables you to increase the sales of your products or services.
Market research is a process of gathering information about the needs, wants, and desires of your target audience. It’s essential to understand who you are targeting with your product or service so that you can make sure it meets their expectations. Market research helps you find out what they want and how best to provide them with it. Therefore, if you want to know more about market research, keep reading this article.
Qualitative and Quantitative Results
The most widely used market research process produces two primary results: quantitative and qualitative.
Quantitative market research measures the statistical value of the results you get. It transforms concepts into concrete numbers that are easy to comprehend and visualize. We quickly integrated these numbers into your decision-making processes.
Qualitative research is valuable in its way. The results produced by this method provide you with the means to explain the quantitative numbers you get. When analyzing your results, you can determine the reasons and motivations behind key consumer behaviors. From here, you can adjust your operating strategies accordingly.
Quantitative research may seem to produce more actionable results at face value. But qualitative results can also assist you in understanding your customers on a deeper level. This can be helpful to your business. These results can provide you with an understanding of precisely what your target audience wants, how they think, which emotions drive them. And how you can form lasting connections with them through your brand messages.
The data you can extract from market research can help you to improve your product launches, existing product lines, market segment, and pricing strategies. It can boost your market penetration strategies, marketing campaigns, and sales figures, among many other key metrics.
There are many ways to extract this actionable data through market research. If your business has the time and resources available, it can implement its research protocols using its talented team. If not, you can hire an agency to perform market research on your behalf.
The 6 Most Cost-Effective Market Research Methods
There are many market research methods available to modern businesses. But some are more cost-effective than others. Depending on your organization’s specific information needs, you can use only one of these methods. Or, you can combine them to get a broader scope of results.
#1: Consumer Surveys
Consumer surveys are a popular and widely used form of market research that is very affordable to conduct. The versatility of these surveys allows researchers to gather vast amounts of organized information rapidly. It quickly analyzed this information to produce quantitative data.
Your business can launch a consumer survey by making a list of crucial questions and distributing it to a sample group of your target audience. The larger your sample group is, the more accurate your results. After your specified time frame is over, your team will summarize and analyze the survey results.
The questions included in your surveys should be easy to understand, clearly defined, and relevant to your business’s needs and your target audience’s experiences. They can be open-ended, closed-ended, and adherent to various answer input types. Including yes or no, multiple-choice, checkbox, Likert scale, rating scale, open-end, and matrix options.
Modern technology and automation tools have made launching surveys more effortless and cost-effective than ever. They can effectively reach thousands of participants with ease. You can make your surveys accessible on your official website and blog. On your social media channels, and even via email. Remember that your survey questions should stem from preliminary market information to ensure that you ask the right questions and end up with valuable data.
#2: Individual Customer Interviews
We can conduct individual interviews with actual customers or sample groups representing a business’s ideal target customer profile. Interviewers ask these participants scripted questions to learn more about their personal lives, consumer habits, preferences, and interactions with certain products and services. Hosts can also request additional unscripted questions based on prior answers. They can take notes that will later provide qualitative results.
This method combines certain features of focus group meetings and surveys. Researchers may also form connections with respondents to understand better how customers feel, act, and behave concerning the research business. This method reaches beyond basic close-ended questions. It delves deeper into customers’ pain points, personalities, and problems.
Individual interviews can be time-consuming, and it can take time and resources to organize the data they produce. However, this is one of the best methods to get profoundly personal customer data that may not otherwise be available.
#3: Focus Group Meetings
Focus group meetings are another popular market share research method. In these meetings, people of specific demographics gather in a room along with a moderator who directs them through a scripted conversation. They take notes without the focus group being aware of their presence. Researchers monitor this process through live-streamed video or one-way glass.
The focus group participants are often customers who fit the buyer persona profiles of the research business. They can also meet specific criteria that highlight them as representative of a target market size for a particular product. The aim of these meetings is for the moderator to facilitate natural conversations in which participants share their thoughts, experiences, viewpoints, and preferences. Researchers can use this information to gain unique insights into specific subjects and demographics.
Businesses can get statistically significant results by holding many meetings for groups with similar profiles and hiring experienced moderators to handle the group meeting sessions. They can expand the research by conducting surveys to test the data analyzed during the meetings.
Focus group meetings provide a valuable way for businesses to gain new points of view. And to gather unique information about their customers and their behavioral patterns. However, smaller group sizes can pose a risk of partial data. Moderators’ opinions can also sway and influence results unless they are deliberately impartial during the meetings.
This form of market research can be cost-effective when conducted on a smaller scale. But larger businesses may have to spend more to find ideal focus groups, host meetings, and financially compensate participants.
#4: Crowdsourcing and Social Media Listening
Social media is now at the root of most businesses’ operations. Primarily if they operate in eCommerce sectors or use digital marketing strategies. People share and experience so much online. Social listening can help your brand to understand your social-media-using customers. It helps determine precisely what they say about your business and products on their favorite platforms.
Social listening tools allow you to track topics you need to research, monitor frequently used keywords, and stay updated with what your customers are talking about. This method of market research offers basic information with minimal effort and cost. Plus, it enables you to constantly update your approaches with new data on the same topics.
Years ago, social listening solutions were costly and difficult to implement. However, nowadays, modern technology has made it more cost-effective than ever to keep up to date with what your target audiences are researching and saying online. Remember to ensure that you keep your research methods ethical and legal and that you adhere to privacy laws to protect your customers and audiences at all times.
#5: Overt and Covert Observation
Observation is another excellent way to learn how customers act, decide and interact with products daily. This form of market research requires researchers to watch customers and take notes on their actions, emotions, behaviors, and other relevant factors.
Covert observation refers to observation conducted without a consumer’s knowledge. The overt statement requires you to ask for your customers’ permission to monitor their actions.
Covert observation can produce more natural and unbiased results. But asking your customers’ consent helps to build trust between themselves and your brand, too.
Either way, this research method limits bias and allows researchers to get accurate, raw data about customer and target market trend perceptions, actions, and behavior patterns. It helps businesses to answer questions about the issues customers encounter.
How did their products help them solve these issues? What emotions did they experience while using the products? Which features do they use the most? Was the purchasing process seamless and the invoicing and payment system user-friendly? Did the customer service meet expectations?
It is helping you to improve your sales at the same time. This information can help you improve the functionality and quality of your product ideas. It can help to compare your user-reported behavior to real-world behavior and adjust your customer profiles accordingly. This data is also helpful in crafting highly personalized and relevant marketing materials that your customers will resonate with.
#6: Secondary Research Methods
Also known as desk research, secondary research relies on third-party information from paid and free public sources. The usual sources are research organizations and educational platforms that work with statistical data from various industries.
This data is freely and widely available. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways for a business to gain access to large amounts of data that they may not otherwise have access to at all. You can use this information to conduct initial primary and secondary market research. From here, you can determine preliminary conclusions that will focus your future strategies and enhance your marketing strategy efforts.
Secondary research and third-party data are best used as complementary information that provides context and relevance for the culmination of your initial research.
Many types of market research can get valuable data about your customers and target audiences without breaking the bank.
We can use them alone or in combination to structure your business decisions, minimize risk, and maximize your chances of future success. Use the combination to conduct market research properly before jump into execution of your plan.