Market Research for Small Business

Market research is essential for every start up and small business to survive and thrive!

It shows you if your small business will fail or succeed. The strategies in needs to implement and the overall direction to take.

Every market research should be done keeping the following key features in mind –

Define Objective.

Market research objectives are specific, measurable goals or targets for a marketing project.

They may include gathering data on customer attitudes and preferences, understanding competitive offerings, benchmarking current performance, discovering new markets to enter or gain an understanding of how the market is shifting.

Market research objectives provide structure and direction to the research process. It allows the researcher to evaluate progress towards achieving the stated aims.

For example –
My market research objective is to explore the preferences of millennials ages 21-25 residing in New York City when purchasing a smart phone.

Specifically, I am interested in investigating the decision factors that Millennial consumers consider when making a purchase, as well as what products they prefer among Apple and Android devices.

Break Down Into Specific Questions.

Breaking down your research objectives into specific questions will help you gather the kind of data you are looking for.

Ask questions about –

  1. What products and services are currently available in the target market?
  2. Who are the major players competing in the target market?
  3. What is the current level of customer satisfaction with existing offerings?
  4. What trends and opportunities exist for introducing new products or services into this market niche?
  5. How have changes in technology, demographics, or society affected this particular industry sector?
  6. Are there potential partnerships or alliances that could help create a competitive advantage for our business model?
  7. What challenges do our competitors face that may provide us an opportunity to gain ‘first-mover’ advantages?
  8. How can we best use digital media to reach our desired customers within this market segment?

For example, let us hypothetically talk about market research about launching a new smart phone.

The question would run somewhat in the line of –

  1. How often do you use a smartphone?
  2. What type of smartphone do you currently use?
  3. What do you like most about your smartphone?
  4. What features do you look for when selecting a new smartphone?
  5. What factors influence your choice of smartphone?
  6. What do you think is the most important benefit of owning a smartphone?
  7. Are there any smartphone features that you would like to have in the future?
  8. How satisfied are you with your current smartphone?
  9. How much are you willing to spend on a new smartphone?
  10. How likely are you to recommend the smartphone you use to a friend?

Identify Data Sources and Collect Primary Data.

A market research extract information from two data sources – primary and secondary.

Secondary Data: This includes data that has already been collected, such as industry reports, government statistics, published reports and surveys, and other sources of previously collected information.

Primary Data: This includes data that you collect yourself, such as customer surveys, interviews, focus groups, and experiments.

Collecting Primary Data

Surveys: Surveys are one of the most common primary data collection methods. They allow you to gather large amounts of data quickly and easily.

Interviews: Interviews are a great way to get in-depth information from individual respondents. You can conduct interviews in person, over the phone, or via video chat.

Focus Groups: Focus groups can get a range of opinions from a group of people.

Experiments: Experiments can test out different ideas and products. This can be done in a lab setting or in the real world.

Analyze the Results

Analyze the Results, Interpret the Findings and Draw Conclusions in a market research study

Analyze the Results: To analyze the results of a market research study, it is important to look at the data in both qualitative and quantitative forms.

Qualitatively, you may use methods such as focus groups and interviews to ask open-ended questions about consumer behavior and preferences.

Quantitatively, you can use surveys, polls, questionnaires, and other tools to gather data on demographics, spending habits, and other consumer characteristics.

Once the data is collected, it can be analyzed to provide insights into consumer behavior and the effectiveness of a company’s marketing efforts.

Interpret the Findings: Once the data has been collected and analyzed, it is time to interpret the results.

This involves looking for patterns and trends in the data, as well as identifying potential causes for the results observed.

For example, if a survey reveals that a majority of consumers are dissatisfied with a brand, it might be possible to identify the reasons behind that dissatisfaction such as quality issues or inadequate customer service.

Additionally, it is important to consider any other factors, such as economic environments or competitive strategies, that might have influenced the results.

Draw Conclusions: Once you have interpreted the results of the research study, it is important to draw conclusions.

This involves looking at the overall trend of the data and determining how it should inform the strategy of a company or organization.

For example, if a survey demonstrates that a new product was well-received, then it may be wise to invest more resources into marketing and promoting the product.

Similarly, if the data shows that consumers are dissatisfied with a brand, then it would be important to examine ways to improve the product or marketing strategies.

Ultimately, the conclusions drawn from market research studies can help companies and organizations make better strategic decisions.

Develop a Plan of Action

Market research gives you the data that can be used to formulate a strategy!

Develop Recommendations: Based on the analysis, develop recommendations that identify opportunities, risks and should include budgets and timelines.

Refine and Test: Refine and test the recommendations to ensure they are valid and that the proposed actions will provide the desired outcomes.

Execute: Execute the plan of action by following the budget, timeline and other project requirements. Evaluate the results and measure the results to determine the success of the plan. Adjust plans as needed.

Communicate Results: Communicate the results of the plan and the key insights to stakeholders and customers. Use the research to position the business for future success.