How and why you should conduct market research for your business?
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Whether you are a small start-up or a large corporation, conducting market research is extremely important for the future of your business. Market research can help you grow and develop, give you an insight into your competitors and help you market a new product effectively.

What are the most efficient ways of conducting market research?

Having evidence to back up business decisions can give you a greater sense of certainty when taking big steps or going in a new direction.

Before you start collecting research, you should have a goal which you can strive forward to achieve. It could be finding out whether people like your new idea for a product, or how people perceive your business.

Once you have your goal, you can then develop a plan of your preferred method(s) to gather the information you need. Your plan will usually include the ways in which you will be conducting your research, how long you will be conducting research for and how this will benefit your business.

There are many different ways for you to conduct your market research, these include:

  • Surveys –These are an effective way of garnering people’s opinions on your business, product or marketing campaign. Those you survey can rate your ideas based on their opinions and they have a chance to elaborate in written sections. As surveys can be created as digital or physical format, you can keep hold of them for future reference.
  • Focus groups – You should gather together a cross section of society for a successful focus group. A diverse range of people, including different genders, age groups, social classes and more. It makes for a quick way of gaining initial opinions of you and your product(s).
  • One on one interviews – Ideally, you should interview a cross section of society to gather the best and most varying number of opinions possible. One on one interviews give you the opportunity to conduct extensive research and really pinpoint what it is people do and do not engage with.
  • Product/services testing – This is the longest process of them all but it is especially good for brand new products. You will send out your product to a selected number of people or they can come in store to test out a new service. They can give you their opinions on the product/service based on their experience of it. This research method gives you the opportunity to refine any parts before launch.
  • Online customer reviews – Finding out what your customers think about you quickly and easily, whether it is complimentary or not, can be beneficial for your business. Sites such as Tripadvisor feature reviews you can use to pinpoint weaknesses you need to work on. Its free and valuable information on the internet so why not make the best use of it you can.
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So that is how you can conduct market research but why should you conduct it? What exactly does it offer to your business?

Whatever stage your business is at, market research is beneficial whatever the size of your business and whoever your customers are.

Market research can help you to:

  • Perform a SWOT analysis of your business – Market research can alert you to weaknesses and threats you may not have been aware of; you can try to improve these as soon as possible to turn your business around. You may also see strengths and opportunities for your business to act on and take advantage of.
  • Find new markets to target – There may be certain demographics you have not been targeting that use your product/service. This research could alert you to this and you can alter your marketing campaigns accordingly. Marketing doesn’t always have to be an expensive process.
  • Identify further areas to research/look into – If new questions arise or you don’t seem to have enough information, you can conduct further research to find out more.
  • Improve products and the way your business is run – When you ask consumers for their feedback, this may highlight weaker points for you to work on. This can help you improve faults on your products or the way your business is run to be more efficient for employees and customers.
  • Identify your customers and find out more about them – Market research helps you discover exactly who your customers are – their gender, age range, interests, social class etc. The more you know about your customers, the better future decisions you will make.
  • Create effective marketing campaigns – Learning about your customers and their preferences when it comes to marketing and advertising means you can create more effective campaigns they will actively engage with.
  • Identify your competitors – Knowing who your competitors are is a huge advantage for your business. You can discover what they are doing as well as what they do well and not so well. This information you can then feed into your business to improve and fill any potential gaps in the market.
  • Fulfil the 4 P’s (product, price, place and promotion) – When you are developing a new product you need to know what it is your customers want, what price they are willing to pay, where it should be sold and the type of marketing campaign they will respond to.
  • Drive your business forward – Using hard evidence rather than guessing when it comes to making business decisions is a great advantage. The best way to grow your business is to know what your customers like so any research you do will help in the long run.
  • Assess your financial options – By knowing the market, you can assess where and when you may need additional sources of finance such as invoice factoring, you can then incorporate the factoring rates and work out when the business may need a facility.

If your business is looking to grow, develop a new product or just improve the way it operates then looking into market research could be very helpful for your business.

It can give you the insight into your market that you require to make a difference in the way you work or to help you make a success of your next venture.