When was the last time you looked at your market’s likes and dislikes? The more important question is, have you ever done that at all?
If you’ve never investigated your market, you need to do something about that — stat. Customers are ever-evolving, and what they wanted two years ago isn’t the same as what they want today. You need to study your market to know if a particular product will sell, or if it will flop like 95 percent of new products.
But what’s the best way to know what your market wants? The answer is market research.
What is Marketing Research?
If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Would anyone want to purchase my product?”, you’ll find the answer when you get to know your market. Marketing research allows you to sit down with your customers (sometimes literally), ask them what they want, and use that information to create new products that are sure to sell.
For example, let’s say that your customers’ main pain point with exercise wear is that it’s too expensive. If you didn’t have this information, you’d still be selling pricey products that they wouldn’t buy. But when you’re equipped with this information, you can create quality products that meet your customers’ wants and needs.
Marketing research helps you create a product or provide a service that actually meets your customers’ current needs. You’ll be able to create something that you know (not only think) will sell. In short, it can help you make better business decisions.
What Are the Types of Marketing Research?
There are different marketing research methods that make it easy to find out more information about your market. We’ll break them down below.
Surveys are designed to get feedback from your customers about a particular product that’s in the market (or about a potential product that you plan to introduce). They are given to target customers over the phone, in person, or via an online form. Surveys should be straightforward, which is why we suggest using close-ended questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no”.
The main benefit of surveys is that they’re basically free. Web-based surveys also allow you to download data in real-time, and not to mention, they’re more convenient for your customers. Your customers will also be more likely to offer their raw feedback as they aren’t intimidated by an interviewer.
The downside, however, is that it’s easy to go wrong with surveys. If your survey is too long, your respondents won’t be willing to spend their time answering it. As a rule of thumb, a survey shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes to complete.
#2 Focus Groups
Focus groups work like this — you get people into a room and ask them questions like, “What do you like about X?” or “Would you buy X if it were in the market?”. By doing this, you’ll be able to gain in-depth insights into how the rest of the market probably feels about your products. In other words, they’re representatives of the whole market.
Focus groups are also a great way to know what your target market thinks about your content marketing strategy. For instance, if you plan to upload videos for brand awareness, you can first ask your focus group about it. What if they find it offensive, and not funny as you had intended? This allows you to make sure your content marketing strategy aligns with your goals.
Furthermore, its main benefit is that it lets respondents bounce off of one another. Unfortunately, focus groups can be costly because you’ll have to pay for everyone’s time. As an alternative, you could consider virtual discussions.
#3 Social Media Posts
Social media posts are an indirect way to find information on your customers. And while it’s an unconventional way to get to know your target market, it’s a treasure trove of information that you have to take advantage of.
Want to know what your market thinks about a brand? Track brand mentions. People tend to post their opinions about a brand publicly. The best part is that they’re freely sharing their thoughts, so you’ll be able to get unfiltered information. If your customers don’t like something about a certain brand, there’s a good chance that they won’t hold back.
#4 One-on-One Interviews
One of the best ways to get in-depth information about a topic is to conduct one-on-one interviews. An interview allows you to get to the bottom of things — for example, if your interviewee says that your products are expensive, you can ask them what features they think would justify the price. You’ll be able to “dig out” more details.
The downside to this method is that it can be time-consuming. Interviews can last as long as 30 minutes. You also need to budget for the interviewee’s fee — after all, who would want to be part of an interview if they’re getting nothing in return?
#5 Market Research Data
If you don’t have the time to conduct market research, you can browse the web for data from “think tanks” like Nielsen, Pew Research Center, Hootsuite, and more. They have conducted several studies, surveys, etc. to save you time and money. All you need to do is look for data that applies to your particular product.
Let’s say you want to sell your products on Instagram, but you don’t know if people still use it to shop. By looking up “Instagram stats for marketers”, you’ll be able to get in-depth insights into your target market — without doing the work on your own!
What’s the Best Marketing Research Method For Your Business?
Ultimately, the one that you go for depends on your goals — for instance, if you want to collect data on your target customers’ demographics, you can’t go wrong with a survey. Likewise, if you want more in-depth answers, you can get together with your focus group.
Don’t let your product be part of the statistic of failed ideas. Invest in market research to know more about your market, such as what they want and don’t want. Apply the methods mentioned above to be sure that your products are what people want.