Market research is key to making better business decisions. It can help you answer key business questions such as:
- Is my business idea or new product/service viable? Is there a market for it and what do customers think of it?
- Are my customers satisfied - and if not, why not?
- What are the key trends in my market that I should be aware of - and what should I be doing about them?
- Is my advertising working?
- Will my business model work in a new or different market?
- Who is my competition? What is their customer value proposition and point of difference?
Market research doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Successful business people often do it instinctively – for example, talking to your customers and keeping an eye on what people are saying about your business by speaking with them across different channels and monitor social media comments on your company page are some ways of researching your market and gauging customer satisfaction
Other ways of getting information about your business and your market include reading newspapers and magazines (and their online equivalents), watching TV, listening to the radio, keeping up (networking) with others in your industry or using third party sources of information like Statistics New Zealand or your local Chamber of Commerce.
You can also research your target market directly by:
- Talking to or interviewing people in your target market.
- Running small focus groups – put on some food and drink and invite people to come in for an hour or so and talk about their perceptions of your product or service.
- Running surveys – either online or asking customers to fill out questionnaires when they do business with you.
Whatever method you use, the objective of market research is to be better informed about your customers, competitors, and market - because the better information you have, the better business decisions you can make.
That’s why it’s important you plan your market research efforts carefully and focus on finding the answers to a small number of key questions that will make the most difference to your business.