Market research is an organized attempt to gather statistical information about customers and target markets: learn about them, beginning with whom they are. It’s a fundamental element of competitive strategy and an important determinant of market share. Market research is usually done by a marketing or advertising agencies, but businesses often do their own market research. Market research is not an easy process, and it takes a lot of hard work and organization to determine what your customers really want. There are many pitfalls you should avoid.
One of the most common mistakes regarding market research is over-surveyation. Survey respondents may be more or less willing to participate if they feel that their answers are important. Surveys may not be appropriate for every type of company and there are certain questions that most people would rather not answer. These questions are usually those that deal with product features and customer complaints. Market research companies must take care to only conduct qualitative surveys, which have far less subjective questions. These surveys can lead to interesting insights that help companies better serve their customers.
Another mistake regarding market research is conducting “head-to-head” surveys, where each company is asked the same generic question about its products. Such surveys are very tedious, and the data from them may not be representative of what real customers think. Instead of making such surveys, head around and make personal contacts at product launch events, trade shows and fairs. Personal observations of customers will give a far more accurate snapshot of how customers use your products and what they don’t. A market research company that conducts “head-to-head” surveys without observing customer interaction is missing out on an opportunity to find out what really matters to your users.
Another common market research mistake is asking generic questions that do not reflect the specifics of a product’s, or service’s, actual use. This is why a customer journey map is so important. A customer journey map helps you organize the data and make it easy to analyze.
One of the most important concepts when it comes to market research is identifying what is unique about your product or service. While some of this can be learned from market research firms, it’s a concept that is impossible to capture from people themselves. What you need to do instead is ask your own customers. You can learn a lot about a product or service by asking your own customers directly what they like and dislike about it. For example, if you sell fitness equipment, tell your customers what features they would like to have, and which would they prefer not to have. Doing this sort of consumer insight research will help you understand why certain features are better-suited for certain situations.
Lastly, open-ended questions, or ones that don’t have a yes/no answer, are the best type of question to use when conducting market research. Open-ended questions give your respondents more freedom to talk. Usually, their answers are the best kind of feedback because they are given their own space to elaborate on their opinions. In addition, open-ended questions allow you to gather additional information about your customers. This additional information, especially the secondary information, will allow you to conduct a better follow-up survey and ultimately increase your knowledge of your customers.