Are you sure your business is heading in the right direction? How do you know that you are hitting the right chord? You need insights to be certain! Market research into the latest industry trends, consumer habits and preferences is what you need to be completely sure that your business is on the right trail. Let us dig a little deeper…
Market Research: An Overview
Market research is a process to gather information and have a better understanding of a company’s target market through multiple techniques. While there are many ways to do this work, most businesses use one of the two defined methods: primary and secondary. Primary research is when you conduct, hire or outsource the research to someone. You are directly involved in the process. Interviews, surveys, and questionnaires are some of the techniques used in primary research. Whereas, secondary research is when you are dependent on already conducted research or studies by multiple sources like government agencies or private organizations, etc. to collect and analyze data.
Choosing among the two largely depends on the type of data you need for your business. Both methods derive valuable data intelligence to better understand the market and make informed business decisions. These valuable insights help businesses to develop better products and upgrade user experience. Businesses leverage data analysis and market insights to structure a marketing strategy that attracts quality leads and improves conversion rates.
Why Market Research Is Indispensable For Your Business?
Every business has a fair understanding of their target audience and their requirements. However, this is not enough to win their loyalty. This is where research comes into the picture. If you don’t leverage market research methods or put in necessary efforts to improve user experience, you are likely to lose your clients to someone who does.
With user analytics, you can have a general observation of what people do at scale. With research, you can have a broader perspective of what mindset your audience has while performing a certain action and what makes them do so. For example, analytics will show that your users leave when they reach the pricing page. However, research will give you an explanation as to why they left after analyzing the data.
Research gives you a rational understanding by beating assumptions, trends, and so-called best practices. It allows you to listen to your clients and focus on their experience with an aim to improve. This reduces your chances of going in the wrong direction and fall prey to bad decisions based on guesswork and emotional reasoning. Some other advantages of market research are:
- Minimizes investment risk.
- Helps you find your own and competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
- Facilitates strategic planning and opportunities to achieve your business goals.
- Enables you to keep pace with the emerging trends to stay ahead in business.
- Focuses on the target audience’s needs and demands.
- Highlights knowledge gaps and scope for potential growth.
The Primary Market Research Techniques
There are different methods to conduct research and collect customer data. The primary ones favored by most organizations are:
1. Online Surveys
Conducting online surveys is the most commonly used market research technique to collate data from the technology-driven audience. It involves a short series of open- or closed-ended questions that users can answer through an on-screen questionnaire or email. It is the easiest way to collect data. You can promptly collect data that is often straightforward and simple to analyze. As it can be easily conducted online, it affirms to be inexpensive too.
By conducting interviews, you get directly involved with your target market through one-on-one conversations to learn about their needs and opinions. If your audience is not available for face to face interviews, video conferencing is another good alternative that can give you solid insights on the data you are seeking. Having a direct conversation with your customers will help you gain insightful threads that can benefit you with a better comprehension of your target market and customers.
3. Focus Groups
Focus groups are a type of qualitative research where you bring a group of individuals as per your company’s target market. A moderator initiates a conversation to engage the set of people in a discussion about the product, user experience, etc. The best part about this technique is that it helps to promptly capture real-life data in a social setting. When you are in general discussion with your target audience, you are likely to touch even those aspects of the topic or reveal information that may not have been anticipated by the researcher or extracted from individual interviews.
However, it requires certain skills and experience to conduct focus groups. Your research could fall victim to drawbacks like dominance bias or moderator style bias if you are new in the field or don’t have the skills of conducting market research. In focus groups where different individuals are involved in an open discussion, there are fair chances that an overbearing participant influences the group. This is what we call dominance bias. Whereas, the moderator style bias is when different moderator personalities bring about different results in the same study. Thus, it is recommended to outsource business research services to conduct focus groups. Professionals have all the required skills and experience to conduct such research and bring about accurate results.
4. Observational Research
Observational research is a process where you observe the audience in practical situations to structure marketing plans or develop business strategies. A customer observation session is conducted to collect data and analyze while observing how an authentic user engages with a product. It is a good market research method as you’ll notice how people interact with your product in a natural setting sans any external influence. There are certain types of research that require this technique to bring in effective results such as calculating the number of shoppers visiting a store or the behavior of children etc.
Market research largely contributes to making better, more informed business decisions. The more intense research you conduct to develop strategic planings for your firm, the better you will equip your business to deal with the changing industry environment. As stated above, conducting market research requires certain skills and experience. Thus, it is always a good idea to outsource the task to a reliable business research company. They will help you avoid common market research pitfalls. They will guide you on techniques and other effective research methodologies that are suitable as per your industry.
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