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Guide To How To Do Marketing Research

May 25, 2021
Bill Kimball

market research for small business

Government statistics are one of the most common types of public sources according to Entrepreneur. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor & Statistics, both of which offer helpful information on the state of various industries nationwide. Market research allows you to meet your buyer where they are. As our world becomes louder and demands more and more of our attention, this proves invaluable. By understanding your buyer’s problems, pain points, and desired solutions, you can aptly craft your product or service to naturally appeal to them. They can research your product or service and make purchase decisions entirely on their own.

The great thing about using personal interviews to conduct market research is that there’s flexibility for the customer to give in-depth responses, and you can ask follow-up questions. Another advantage of an interview is that you can pick up on visual cues as well as verbal ones. Understanding the qualitative perspectives of your target audience is essential to meaningfully speaking to the heart of what your customers want and need. Putting those qualitative insights into quantitative data helps you to understand where the largest opportunities lie. It is absolutely essential to conduct market research prior to launching a new product or service. When you are developing something new, you might not be plugged into consumers’ needs. Testing the waters with market research first is a good way to make sure you are developing your new product or service with the real-world needs of your target market in mind.

Market research is essential when launching a new business or refining your existing products and services. Market research provides insight into what your target audience expects from your business, including customers’ likes, dislikes, needs, wants and pain points. If you are thinking aboutstarting a new businessor releasing new updates to your products or services, you need to conduct market research to test the viability of your ideas. Otherwise, you could find yourself wasting time and resources on a solution nobody wants or needs. Use your online presence to conduct market research by encouraging customer feedback on business websites and social media.

Your industry trade association can offer a wealth of information such as market statistics, lists of members, and books and reference materials. Talking to others in your association can be one of the most valuable ways of gaining informal data about a region or customer base. To get insights into consumer markets, check out the Statistical Abstract of the United States, which you can find at most libraries. It contains a wealth of social, political and economic data. Ask reference librarians for other resources targeted at your specific business. Before you shift into high gear, you must determine whether there really is a market for your product or service. Not only that, you need to ascertain what–if any–fine-tuning is needed.

Why Is Market Research Important?

Competitive analyses are valuable because they give you a deep understanding of the competition in your market and industry. HubSpot uses the information you provide to us to contact you about our relevant content, products, and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. In the examples above, the survey of 1,000 customers would yield some quantitative results, expressed as a percentage of respondents. It also would include some qualitative insights about the way your customers feel.

market research for small business

This part of the process is called a target market analysis. A market analysis is the process of gathering information about a market within an industry. Your analysis studies the dynamics of a market and what makes potential customers tick. Seek out organizations or publications focused solely on your industry. Often times they will conduct their own market studies and publish results. For example, if you plan to be a massage therapist, you can check out The American Massage Therapy Association. Search engines are your best friends in this area of secondary market research.

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Or try a service like Google Surveys to get responses from consumers and the general public. Identify a new offering – Changing habits, tastes and needs may trigger ideas for products or services. Have you ever kicked off an advertising campaign with high hopes, only to be disappointed by the results? Or what about introducing a new product with great fanfare, just to discover the market wasn’t interested?

market research for small business

If you are in the business of direct sales (i.e. Avon), contact your local office and find out how many representatives are already in your area. Also seek out information on representatives from competing companies (i.e. Mary Kay). Secondary research involves seeking out and reviewing already published information from the Internet, industry reports, and media publications.

Put Your Analysis Into Action

prospects and customers you can connect to for market research. With solid data, you can segment your contacts by their contact status, title or position, and interests to get the feedback you need about your products and services. With a well-organized CRM, it’s easy to pull relevant lists of contacts and email them for feedback, such as a survey or interview request.

  • Use a Q&A session after you’ve presented to gauge how successful your new ideas might be.
  • It aligned account attributes with business priorities to balance territories and improve equitability.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration has a roundup of business and consumer statistics resources on its website.
  • Conduct focus groups in-person or online using apps that lend themselves to the purpose.
  • The anonymous, aggregate information is constantly updated, and provides incredible details on consumer attitudes and activities.

We recommend focusing on one persona, but if you feel it’s necessary to research multiple personas, be sure to recruit a separate sample group for each one. The group you identify to engage should also be made of people who recently made a purchase or purposefully decided not to make one. Here are some more guidelines and tips to help you get the right participants for your research.

For years Lego was an enormously successful product with young boys but was popular with only 10% of female children. In response, Lego conducted a huge four-year market research campaign with over 3500 young girls, resulting in a new product line featuring vibrant colors and different figurines. The new products became a huge success and the share of female Lego users increased sharply. After several quarters of declining sales, McDonald’s executives decided in 2015 that major changes were required to combat the public perception of McDonald’s products as being unhealthy. Based on market research, the company made menu changes and no longer sells chicken products containing human antibiotics or other ingredients, such as phosphates and maltodextrin.

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She manages all phases of qualitative and quantitative research studies for a diverse portfolio of clients, ranging from not-for-profits and startups, to enterprises and Fortune 500 companies. We hope this Guide has helped you understand what is market research in business. Most small businesses and startups could achieve greater success if they did simple exploratory research before launching a product or starting a business. Whatever your budget or staff size, research will make your business more proactive and results-oriented, with decisions based on fact, to power your growth.

You can also gather competitive intelligence to find out how to differentiate yourself from other companies with similar products and services. By identifying the strengths and weakness of your competitors, you can develop unique offerings and create a strong value proposition. Business owners use market research to determine the feasibility of new business opportunities. Market research is an essential component of a business plan for any startup businesses. If market research does not indicate a demand for the product or service, the proposed business will not likely be viable. Businesses may also use results to expand into new markets.

market research for small business

To optimize your marketing efforts, take the time to investigate your target audience and strategize your messaging accordingly. Market research can help you know whether or not your product idea will appeal to your customer base.

To come up with a buyer persona, you collect data from customers through surveys to create a semi-fictional person. With buyer persona research, you’re trying to find out what your ideal customer looks like in terms of demographics and needs. You then use this “ideal customer” data to design your ad campaigns. Once you are prepared with buyer personas and research questions, it’s time to bring them into the real world. Through polls, surveys, focus groups and social posts, engage the participants to gather feedback, which will be essential in informing your decision making. Because primary research is conducted by your company, you own the data, Cho said. Secondary research, by contrast, is done by someone else to support your primary research, but you don’t own the data, he added.