A quality offering, whether a good product or a superior service, is important for a company’s success.
However, it is not the only aspect that is important. Businesses today are operating in an ever-evolving digital and competitive environment. As a result, companies need to adapt to the changing market needs, modify their operations, understand their competitors better, and constantly come up with innovative ways to change the fundamentals of doing business. Market research helps businesses with all these objectives and is pivotal for a business to survive and thrive.
A strategically conducted market research will assist in critical decision-making ranging from selecting a target market for your products to the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Remember, customer-centric businesses will always be more successful at what they do. They reap more profits as they know about their customers, their purchasing habits, and their desires. In this article, we will discuss some useful tips for conducting business market research, so read on to learn more.
Hire the services of a business research analyst
Many companies resort to secondary research, due to time or financial constraints, by making use of the data already available online in the form of reports and research books. However, primary research is more beneficial as it focuses on the specific context. A market research analyst having the required expertise and skills can help you in gathering valuable and relevant market insight. Typically, a market research analyst should have a bachelor’s degree in applied sciences or business analytics. With the emergence of online degree programs in business analytics, you could even acquire these skills yourself for better understanding. Acquiring a degree does not mean you handle every aspect of the business; it allows you to monitor every department and identify loopholes (if any).
So what will a market research analyst do?
The market research analyst will assess the information collected through brand surveys, customized investigations, and focus group inquiries and then present them to you in the form of reports. These reports will be the most important source for you to develop business strategies, anticipate market trends and maximize resources accordingly.
Know the reason behind your research
You need to know the exact reason why you are conducting business research. It will make the research process easier, and your decision will be insight-driven rather than based on assumptions. Business research is carried out for various reasons; to better understand the customers or potential customers, how to achieve a competitive advantage, to identify problem areas, or to find innovative ways to minimize losses and maximize profits. One of the most dangerous propositions for a business will be to try to answer all these questions in a single research. A researcher cannot possibly investigate everything about the market.
Therefore, try to remain focused and aim to conduct goal-oriented research. The research brief should clearly state the focus of the study as well as the extent to which each area needs to be investigated.
Your business is far too important for you to fall prey to confirmation bias. It’s easier to make assumptions based on your existing beliefs or gut feelings. However, this can be dangerous for the business. An important purpose of business research is to remove subjective opinions and employ the scientific method. The scientific method guarantees that objectivity is maintained in business research, which leads to management being more confident in making crucial decisions based on the research results.
Design a simple survey
While designing the survey questions, first define a clear and attainable objective of that survey. With that goal in mind, start prioritizing the questions you want to ask your respondents. Remember, simplicity is the key to getting high-quality, accurate data from your target respondents. Ask simple and concise questions so that there is no ambiguity in the minds of the respondents while answering your questions.
The same rule applies whether you are conducting an online survey, a personal interview, or a discussion involving focus groups. Long surveys taking too much time should be avoided. The completion rate for short surveys is better than the longer ones.
Moreover, respondents are more likely to give thoughtful responses to a short survey. While conducting interviews, both open and close-ended questions can be asked, but again, asking the right questions will serve your purpose better. Verbal expressions can also be gauged in focus groups or face-to-face interviews.
Use the right sample
An important question while conducting market research is about the size and characteristics of the sample. An ideal sample size will neither be too big nor too small. Use the right mix of loyal and recent buyers as well as potential customers in order to understand their demographics and preferences. If you have a small customer base, personal interviews can be conducted, whereas in the case of a large customer base, survey questionnaires are preferred.
Use the power of digital tools
Other than conducting surveys and interviews, businesses can also include the latest digital tools for improving the efficiency of research and to timely address emerging challenges. Social media interactions have been gaining popularity as an alternative way to get information from customers and other stakeholders. Emails can also be used by businesses that have a list of engaged subscribers or a contact list of returning customers. Studying the quantitative data of your website traffic or paying attention to the cross-browsing of your audience might help you determine the extent of customer loyalty to your brand.
Be honest with your respondents
While conducting business research, try to be open, honest, and transparent with your respondents. They must have a clear understanding of how you will use the information given by them. Transparency also includes practices such as sharing study data and reporting research findings on public forums. By maintaining transparency, businesses can improve research integrity and enhance the number of their respondents, whereas failing to do so can have serious consequences later.
Market research allows businesses to carefully scrutinize their markets, gain an in-depth understanding of their customers, be innovative in their approaches, and deliver value to their customers. However, it will meet these objectives when it is thorough and precise. Whether your business is a start-up, a small one struggling to capture a bigger market, or an established one having a loyal customer base, these tips can help you up your game. By following these tips, you will collect meaningful data which will assist you in meeting your goals and in making informed decisions.