The Six Best Practices for Conducting Market Research
In order for you to support certain business objectives, it’s necessary that you have the correct data. These objectives include understanding the requirements for a new product or a new market, adjusting your customer journey mapping, improving your position in the competitive market, enhancing your customer facing process, determining customer satisfaction, and analysing your wins and losses. All of this data can be achieved through successful customer and market research.
Merely creating survey questions and using a survey software isn’t enough, because proper research entails a lot more than just choosing an appropriate rating scale or creating questionnaires. Market research takes dedication, time, and money. The purpose of your research must be supported by your methodology and corresponding survey tools along with any business and budget constraints.
On 8th February 2019, Research Live tweeted, “The perception of market research is that it is a tool used mainly by marketing departments instead of being essential for strategic development. Unless this changes, our industry will struggle to survive.”, which was then retweeted by Ignacio Racca.
Flawed research processes and the consequent decisions and bad results can often have a catastrophic effect on your business. Having research experts on your marketing team isn’t something every company can afford. Although, you can hire external experts to aid you in this critical process.
Why Proper Market Research is Important
When conducting your market research, you will encounter several websites that are blocked. That’s when you will have to make use of proxies. LimeProxies, for example, provides companies with the premium proxies they require, along with an extremely supportive team.
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Proper market research is the backbone of every marketing campaign. There have been several instances where businesses have gone forward with new campaigns or products without conducting proper market research, and missed the mark as a result of it.
For example: In 1985, Coke conducted a research where blind taste tests showed that customers preferred the sweeter flavour of Pepsi, as a result of which Coke replaced their flagship cola drink with an alternative, naming it New Coke, and making it more similar to their competitor’s drink flavour. However, this was done after premature market research, due to which the feedback they got from the public was negative. Soon after, the classic soda was brought back and the new formula was discontinued internationally.
The reason that caused this problem was the fact that the data wasn’t looked at as a whole, and changes were implemented by just considering one corner of the big puzzle. The thing that the marketing executives at Coke overlooked was the fact that its customers were loyal to it not just because of its taste, but because of several other factors that kept them coming back for more. Post this, the brand finally listened to the response of its customers and renamed itself Coca-Cola Classic, thereby proving that it’s not going away anywhere.
The lesson to learn from this is that while Coke was able to reverse this mistake due to customer loyalty and worldwide popularity, not ever brand has the ability to do so. Therefore, businesses should be extra careful and follow certain practices while conducting market research.
Tips and Tricks for Market Research
Market research isn’t something that should be done just once in a while. Companies should keep conducting them on a timely basis and listen to their buyers and users in order to maintain a competitive edge. Every research should be conducted after gathering substantial data and proper evaluation. Market research allows you to learn more about your customers, and in turn employ this knowledge in the creation of new products and campaigns.
If you wish to know what are the best practices to conduct market research, listed below are some tips that are sure to help you out.
1. Define Your Scope
You should be aware of your own scope and reach. Identify who your potential customers are based on the products you’re offering. Creating a customer outline will ultimately help you point out who your customers could be in the future. For example, Apple knows that its customers are people who can afford to pay a premium price for consumer electronics, Facebook targets both businesses as well as consumers who wish to connect with each other, and so on.
Once you have an approximate idea about your target market and audience, map out as to why they should buy from you instead of your competitors. Is your brand the only one that offers a particular product? Do you sell at really affordable prices? Does your business include exceptional service and support? Once you’ve charted out the answers to these, you can get into the more specific details regarding your market research.
2. Ask the Right Questions
Before you get to the main part of the market research, there’s a preliminary stage as well that needs to be looked into. This entails analysing the data you already have, namely from government sources of industry data and the data from trade associations. Government data is especially helpful for startups, because the data you receive from this source is generally accurate and well-reviewed.
With this initial stage of the research, you should be able to identify your target market and get a sense of who your competitors are. What comes after this is the process of acquiring quality, actionable data. You first need to establish a solid foundation if you’re attempting to gain insights and information regarding the kind of features that will work best for your new product or products. You must ask yourself these following questions: Do your products fill a particular purpose? Will they help in solving some specific issues of the customers? Do they have a USP that your competitor’s products don’t? And if they do, is it enough for the consumers to leave the existing product and shift to yours?
Businesses need to constantly be on the lookout for market changes, new technologies, and to see if they’re keeping up with the pace of the competition. Once your data proves that there is a genuine need for your products, you can begin building it. If you already have a core product and wish to know what new features the consumers will like to see in it or how it will be beneficial to them, you have to reach out to them. You can do so through surveys or get in touch with them through email, blogs, social media, etc.
3. Determine Data Requirements
As data is the most crucial requirement in a market research, you and your team will have to brainstorm about the kind of data you require to conduct the necessary survey, and how much this data will ultimately cost you. The cost depends on whether you’re going for primary research data or secondary research data.
Whereas primary research refers to the collection of data that doesn’t exist yet, secondary research is the data that is already around and can be collected from third-party research firms or other sources. While primary research data is more expensive, time-consuming, and accurate, secondary research data is comparatively more affordable. Evaluate your budget, timeline, and resources, and select the data that will be the best for your research.
4. Design a Simple Survey
Having a simple survey is imperative. It’s best to ask clear and concise questions that will help you gather the data you need. Don’t ask misleading or confusing questions or frame them in a way that compels the consumers to respond in a particular manner. It’s better to have neutral and “N/A” answers than those that are written just for the sake of it, which can eventually lead to faulty and biased compilation of data.
5. Employ a Suitable Structure of Questions
The structure of your survey will affect the way you analyse the results. Before you get to the survey, evaluate as to which of the answer styles are best suited for your questions. Here are some of the kinds of answers styles:
- Categorical: These are, as the name suggests, best for categorising people into different groups. These kinds of surveys are usually designed in a way such that almost all of the following questions are related to an initial categorical answer that the survey-taker selected.
- Ordinal: These are the category of answers where the users are given a range to select from, like “strongly disagree to strongly agree.” A N/A option is also provided in many cases so as to avoid random or forced answers from messing up the data required for your market research.
- Interval: When you provide interval options in equal sizes, such as 5-year blocks, they’re known as interval answers. They’re usually assigned in ranges (for example, “age 25–30”).
- Fill in the Blank: While these answers take time to get through, they definitely provide a lot of valuable data. Customers can jot down all their needs and requirements and help you formulate the perfect products.
6. Follow Up
Once the survey is complete, make sure you take the time out to thank those who took the survey. If you offered an incentive to enter the survey, you can follow up once that incentive is live, such as a gift card or so on. You can also follow up these connections on the basis of something relevant they shared in their answers. For example, if there’s a feature they listed they would like to see in your brand or product, and that feature becomes available, notify them of this development. This way, they will also know that you value their inputs and pay heed to their suggestions.
The information you received about your customers can help strengthen your bond with them and go beyond a market survey. Use it to reach out to them personally and improve their experience with your brand. You can do this by sending out separate emails depending on their survey answers. For example, if a customer listed their profession as ‘designer’, and if your product comes up with a feature or a tool that can help designers or those in the same field, let them know about it. Individuals belonging to different professions can receive separate emails accordingly.
A well-planned market research has several benefits. It can help you identify the market opportunities, monitor the competitive advantages, aid in the better allocation of resources, and ultimately increase the growth and profitability of your brand. If at any point of your market research, you come across information you can’t access, make use of internet proxies. LimeProxies can help you in this regard.
A lucrative market research will not only be the guiding light towards a brighter future for your company, but will also serve as a way for you to get to know your present and potential customers, which is the main aim of every market research. Put these practices into use and you’re sure to have a successful market research for your brand.