How to Perform Market Research

Market Research can help ensure that your marketing plan will actually work on your target audience. It’s the process of gathering information about your prospects and current customers to make sure they actually want and/or need it.

If you don’t perform market research, you may find your prospects don’t actually want what you’re offering. Your business, then, most likely will fail.

Market research also helps you understand how to make your product/service more appealing to prospects

Perform market research and you will find:

  • From which competitors your prospects purchase products, get information, etc.
  • Who makes up your market and the challenges they face.
  • What makes your target audience convert/purchase (what influences them to do so).
  •  The “latest thing”/trends in your sector and if your prospects are buying them.

The two types of market research: primary and secondary

Primary research is when you look for first-hand information about your prospects within your market. (This is where it’s wise to create buyer personas, so that you’ll have a clear picture of who you best buyers will be.)

Primary market research entails both exploratory and specific research that you conduct, while secondary research basically is research already completed by others (competitors, trade associations and even government entities).

Primary research often entails:

  • Using focus groups.
  • Interviewing customers and prospects.
  • Research of your competitors’ products/services.
  • Market segmentation research
  • Observation-based research
  • Pricing research
  • Competitive analysis
  • Brand awareness research
  • Customer satisfaction/loyalty research

You also want to be sure to check out your competitors’ social media channels to see  what their customers are saying about them and how your competitors engage with them.

Additional primary research

Also consider:

  • Looking at your current Google Analytics to see what pages your customers visit now, how long they stay there and which pages they move to next (if any). This will help show you what your customers really are interested in in your offerings as they stand now.
  • Track email open rates and see if they then move to the link(s) within them to your website.

Conducting secondary research

When it comes to conducting secondary market research, your first task is to decide what questions you want answered. Do you want to know more about your competitors’ products, more about your target audience or do you want to know exactly how/why your customers prefer one competitor’s product over another’s?

Next, you’ll need to discover what kinds of data, records, etc. will provide you with that information, and where can you get your hands on them?

For example, some businesses create annual reports, but others don’t. Will you need industry survey reports? What about prospect buying information in general? And where is this information stored? Government and/or industry websites? What industry websites may have them? What about government entity and/or trade association as well as industry and market data?

Tips for effective secondary market research

Start simple: check what reports, statistics, etc. gathered by others that you already have in-house. 

Then check the internet. Enter the topic in our favorite search engine, check out the first few that show up and bookmark those you think will prove to be the most useful.

You probably won’t need to buy reports from “experts,” associations, third-party researchers, etc.: there’s plenty of free information out there so that you more than likely won’t have to pay for what you need.

Put it all together and…analyze!

Gather your research and organize it in the following sections:

  • An overview of the industry’s size and growth.
  • Your projection of your company’s market share.
  • Your business’ growth forecast.
  • Customer buying trends.
  • Your pricing and any discounts you may offer.
  • Projected cash flow.
  • Results of all your other analyses.

Finally, take what you discover and use it as you create marketing plans and strategies.

Ingenex Digital Marketing can help 

Whether you need tips on how to perform market research or actual help doing it and then creating a marketing plan, learn more about how we can help you grow your business.