Updated: Jan 11, 2020
When you have an up and coming business, especially with a new or unheard of product and service, it may be difficult to find where you should sell, and to whom. With this article we hope to give you a better understanding of what it takes to research your market, and find how to bring in your customers. To start you should note, this is a large task and will take quite some time to do properly. Some aspects we go over can cost you some money, but do not fret if you don’t have a budget yet. There are many free and easy ways to get a clearer understanding of your market and target demographic. The fruits of a successful market study can be invaluable to growing your customer base, and thus your business. Finding your target market and what appeals to your niche will be very helpful when it comes time to create a marketing strategy for your company.
The fruits of a successful market study can be invaluable to growing your customer base, and thus your business.
You have two types of research to conduct, Primary and Secondary. As the names imply you would aim to accomplish the Primary research first because it is all about developing a clear understanding of who will buy your product what your customer wants, and how you can sell to them. Secondary research concerns your industry, finding out all you can about your competitors already in your field. Both are invaluable, but again you need to start with your customers to see if you can develop a following and with who.
To go into detail about the stages of your research plan refer to the following:
Primary Research - Customer Based Exploratory Research
Measuring potential problems for consumers that would be advantageous to solve with a business.
Now that you have found a problem for specific consumers, how do they want the issue solved, and why will they choose you? Secondary Research - Industry Based Public Sources This refers to public data, or statistics. Think about the Census Bureau, or the Bureau of Labor & Statistics and what helpful information they will have about your target demographic, and competitors.
Commercial Sources Receiving market and sales reports from competitors already established in your filed can give you a great look into the profitability of your target market. Though this information typically will cost you money to obtain.
Internal Sources This comes from your own historical sale marketing data. Throughout the years what advertising has worked for what demographic, and what products sold best to who? Your internal sources are invaluable to see what your current customers tend to buy, and what they will like next. So you understand the concept of Market Research, now how will we get this study get completed? Remember you don’t need to have a whole budget set aside for your research if you are just starting out, all of this can be done for free and on a smaller scale through friends and family. Read this step by step guid to get a clear understanding of where you should start, and how to create a valuable research study for your company: Define your Market Segment A Market Segment is a group of buyers who share the same characteristics and buying habits. So simply put, this is your target audience. Before you devise a way to sell to your customers, you have to know who you will be selling to. Think about your ideal customer and how old your will be, their gender, location, income, family size, and their daily challenges. You need to get a general understanding of your customer if you wish to develop a strategy to sell them a product. Its okay to find that your product can be appreciated across many demographics, you just need to be sure you have specific Market Segments based on your buyers persona. What are their interests, what do they look for in a product, and what keeps them coming for more? These questions are what will help you create lasting, valuable product for your customers. Of course the only way to find out what they do appreciate, Is by asking them.
Think about your ideal customer and how old they will be, their gender, location, income, family size, and their daily challenges. You need to get a general understanding of your customer if you wish to develop a strategy to sell them a product. Identify smaller groups You can get a group's opinions in many ways, the most popular being in person focus groups, an online survey, or phone interviews. You can find participants by talking to customers who already buy from a competitor in your field. Why did they decide to buy the product, and why do they keep coming back? Its important to find some participants who did not want to buy from that competitor, so you can see why. Perhaps there is an untapped market for that specific buyer persona. You want to try to get at least 25 people In your Market Segment to participate, the more information you get from your Market Segment, the quicker you’ll be able to find your core group of buyers and what they appeal to. Again this is more about separating your Market Segments into finer specific groups that you can better understand. If you already have a customer base, they will be your easiest subject group to recruit, but you need to be sure to get outside opinions about your competitors products to have a well balanced view.
Solidify your research groups. Now that you have your target demographic, and you’ve singled out your ideal customers personas, you must recruit them for your specific studies. There are three main points as mentioned in the above section, but you need to bring in as many people as you possibly can so you can have unbiased feedback, and a greater pool of information to pull from. This is the time to network with others in your company, supply chain or other networked businesses to find people that qualify for your study. Reach out to your friends and family through social media, and your linked in accounts, they may not qualify but they may know people willing to participate who do. Of course a great way to find people that will buy your product are to enlist former customers of your product, but you will gain much more valuable insight by finding the ones who viewed your product but did not purchase. If you have a website you should be able to see your foot traffic, and if they are members to your site you can get a clearer idea of their activity on through your store. You can find would be customers who started to add items to their cart but never went to checkout. Also send out invitations with a message of your study out to your social media following, or mailing list on your website. You can entice them into your study by offering exclusive material, or a discounted service or product. Perhaps they will participate regardless, but adding an incentive to participate will draw in many more people to your study. Remember that the most valuable opinions often found from people that shop at the competitor, or did not buy at all. Prepare your research questions. When you go into a Research Study, you want to be sure you a prepared to get the intended outlooks from all your preparation. So you want to be sure you have prepared appropriate questions, streamlined in a fashion so you that you do not waste your precious interview time. It is important to remember that you are looking for your customers true opinions, not answers to a multiple question test. So be sure to keep all of your questions open ended. Remember these interviews should feel more like discussions than a firing range of questions and check boxes. You want to start by developing an idea of where they are coming from. What job position do they have, and for how long? You want to develop a better understanding of the people who appreciate your product. So find what makes these people come alive, what excites them, or what their hobbies are. If you find that your reoccurring customers are guitarists for some reason, you now have a strategy to get your customers to relate to your marketing campaign. Also, be sure to know what their daily responsibilities are, and ask questions pointed in the direction of the niche of your product or service. What kind of challenges do they face in the day to day, and what could they appreciate being solved for them? What struggle made them start buying this product, and what would they like to see improved? Try to get a clear understanding of why they feel the need to turn to your company and buy your service. Likewise probe further into their experience with competitors. How did they find them, through which medium did they purchase through, how did they find them on the web, and what was their experience with the staff like? You also need to probe into any research they did themselves before they decided to buy a product from a competitor or you. What factors swayed them one way or the other, and in what ultimately influenced them to purchase? A very valuable question to ask is what they would like to have experienced while making their purchase, and what aspects they did not appreciate. Also be sure to ask of any shortcomings they see with the product, and what they would like to see more of as well. Be sure to ask if they themselves have developed any questions, remember this should be more of a discussion than a one sided conversation.
List your primary competitors. This is where you begin your Secondary Market Research, you have your target markets and you know how to sell to them, now you need to find all the other competitors already trying to sell to them. You have two main groups of competitors in this modern world, Industry Competitors, which are companies actively in your field selling services like yours; And Content Competitors, which are mostly online, think about a customer typing their request into google and a website pops up that appeals to their persona. This is also a competitor you should note, they may not sell something on their site, but they have the ability to take the foot traffic you are trying to develop. When thinking of your Industry Competitors, you should use your different sources available to you that we covered at the beginning of this article. Public Sources will be the most cost effective way to find your competitors statistics, general revenue, and overall standing in the industry. Commercial Sources will cost more but will give you clear reports direct from your competitors to see what works for them. Of course your best tool for this job will be Google or your search engine of choice, however if you use “Google Trends” you can type in your hot words for your products and it will show you what regions are interested and already searching the web for.
Check it out Here: https://trends.google.com/trends/?geo=US .
It will take you time, but be sure to list all your competitors in order to their presence in your field. Once you have a better understanding of how many companies you must compete with, you can begin to see what they have in common or how they differ. This may take awhile but finding a pattern between what your competitors lack to offer, and what your Market Segments told you they want, it can be invaluable to your marketing strategy.
Finding a pattern between what your competitors lack to offer, and what your Market Segments told you they want, will be invaluable to your marketing strategy. Wrap up your study. If you had a successful research study then chances are you may be drowning in notes and reports, this is good, but will do you good until you organize them all. Start from the beginning why you started, and what complled you to in the direction you did. Who did you find to study and why, what were the main patterns that emerged from them? If you were able to pull from a diverse field of subjects a table or graph will be very helpful to compile your data, remember from section one when you were building your market segment, what categories can you group these participants into? Compiling your data and research in ways that show off the patterns and aspects that tie their interests together is the goal of this study, so be sure to showcase what you found in a meaningful way. Begin to summarize your findings, talking about the patterns between the groups of people, and what drives them to buy. Be sure to note what the most common trigger was that brought customers into the store, what the common theme of peoples desire, and how they decided what product was right for them. Now that you have your research completed and compiled what action plans have you devised for your next step? Create at least three separate marketing strategies, to cast a broad net onto your target audience, keep a close eye of which one works best, and reevaluate to create a streamlined power force behind your marketing campaign.
This is a great guide to start off your first few research studies, but be sure to keep researching, people are constantly changing witch means if you hope to keep up with your demographic you need to constantly update your research. Also, remember that doing these studies on a larger scale will add up in costs, so be sure you are getting a proper return out of all your teams hard paid work. Be sure to share your results with everybody in your company, the more people thinking of marketing strategies the better.
Remember it takes a team to run a successful business.
For tips on how to turn your diligent market research into a well oiled market strategy continue to read Here: Market Strategy