How market research can boost your marketing strategy
Here, we look at how businesses can use market research to make better business decisions that maintain their competitive edge.
Market research isn’t just for big companies and doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, with shrinking budgets and constrained resources, small businesses may have even more to gain.
Research can identify demand for your good or service before it launches, it can help you understand your customer – what motivates them and drives loyalty – and it could save you money in the long run.
The Market Research Society (MRS) has launched a new website for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – Research_for small business – to demonstrate the value of market research for small businesses and to provide them with support and guidance. experts when starting.
Whether you’re starting a business or running an established one, there’s no excuse not to research your target market. Knowing who buys your products and how that changes over time will help you maintain increased sales.
Your marketing strategy, as any marketing graduate will tell you, is the overall plan that will drive your business forward. This will be the plan that defines who does what, what tweets and updates will be published when, the design of flyers, the timing of press releases and more.
But this marketing strategy must be based on a solid foundation – and that means understanding if there is demand for your products, goods and services, who your customers are, where they are and why they would be looking to buy from you, as opposed to to a competitor.
Market research improves your brand image
If you’re not quite in control of your brand, you need to ask yourself a few questions: how do your customers perceive you? How is your brand positioned against your competitors?
Market research can be used to improve your brand image by exploring topics such as:
- Personification: What characteristics do customers associate with your brand?
- Brand Awareness: Are Customers Your Brand? How well do they know him?
- Comparison: How does your brand compare to your main competitors?
You can ask your customers for feedback on a wide variety of topics, such as how attractive your website is, what they think of the ordering process, or your customer service. The more information you have, the better changes and improvements you can make.
You can better understand your customers
You will no doubt understand the need to know who your customers are. When you started your business, you probably collected this information. But are your customers today the same as last week, last year or ten years ago?
It’s common for a company’s customer demographics to change over the years and that’s why market research will help to better understand your customer base demographics.
Knowing who is buying your products (and who isn’t) will help you better target your marketing. Can you create a customer profile from the information you already know about your customers? If you can’t, you really need to update this knowledge.
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Promotes better marketing effectiveness
You invest a lot of time, money and effort into creating marketing campaigns that you “hope” will work.
But “hoping” is not enough and should not be the basis of any marketing campaign. We talked about this in the previous point on knowing your customers.
It’s only part of the equation. You should also gauge their response to your current marketing campaign. Was it well received? Did your customers react well to the marketing message, if at all?
By understanding how customers respond to a campaign, you can incorporate those insights into future marketing and promotional campaigns, improving their reach, engagement, and effectiveness.
Market research can identify new opportunities
Expanding and growing your business is essential to survival, and market research can provide the information you need to expand into new areas.
For example, if you have a new product online, you can test market readiness with market research. Or, if you are expanding into a new geographic location, you can use market research as a basis to find out whether or not this is happening, what the opportunities and threats are.
You can analyze market size, demographics, major competitors, and local area information, just to name a few pieces of information you might need.
Improve product functionality
Have you noticed how some companies release a product, use it for a while, and then release a new, improved version?
This all comes from market research. Indeed, the brand has taken the time to gauge the response to its product and customer feedback on what needs to change. It’s a great way to keep growing.
Market research allows you to connect with your customers, be genuinely interested in their feedback, and use that information to make the changes that improve your business.
As a small business, our budgets are tight, so research seemed like a big expense at the time, but we shopped around before deciding which way to go.
In 2009, Google was beginning to monopolize search, but few companies were specifically monitoring or doing anything actively about their search results. Igniyte has been trained to help them do this by using specialist tools, SEO and best practices, addressing negative results and promoting a positive online reputation.
The company works with leading personalities, companies and brands and regularly provides expert commentary/advice in specialist and national media.
Igniyte regularly receives requests from brands seeking assistance in managing negative content online. We wanted to understand the extent of the problem; how it impacted the finances and reputation of UK businesses in 2018 and how we could help.
Use of market research
We have already put the search to good use. The results of a survey informed new services and sparked conversations in national media.
For this project, Igniyte developed questions to see how things had evolved and had OnePoll market researchers survey 500 business owners, decision makers, strategists and marketers on our behalf.
These results help shape the services we offer and provide valuable insights to SMEs.
Five tips for effective market research
- Preparation is crucial when undertaking market research. Think backwards; what kind of finds are you looking for?
- The right questions are essential to obtaining relevant information. Spend time tweaking/testing to make sure the answers will be relevant
- Think about your audience and ensure a sample large enough to be truly reflective
- Choose a credible researcher such as OnePoll – to help ensure scope and segmentation
- Once the data is collected, schedule time to review the results; capture trends/insights, then act on them.
by Ben Lobel
This article was originally published by smallbusiness.co.uk