Understanding your customer and your target audience is crucial to developing and building your business. Sales forecasting and product improvements can be effective only if you know your customer and his needs, expectations and preferences in relation to your product.
Conducting market research is one of the most important activities you could invest in, and often business owners tend to neglect it due to the possibility of negative feedback. Here are some ways to conduct market research effectively:
1. Conduct primary & secondary research: There are two types of data you have to rely on based on your research – primary data is collected directly from customers through surveys and other forms of research. Secondary research is more in-depth and can be collected through trade associations, market research firms and so on.
2. Stay updated: Your industry trade association is likely to have a lot of information relevant to your research including insights about your audience, important statistics, and data on a particular market segment. It is also good to keep yourself up-to-date on the latest trends and happenings in your industry.
3. Have a clear goal: Set a realistic goal you want to achieve through the right market research, such as maximizing profits or improving market share. Think about whether there is a need in the market that your product can fill, figure out whether your current pricing strategy will be effective in the long run. Your goal will drive your marketing research efforts and provide more clarity on what is needed.
4. Conduct a focus group: Inviting consumers to participate in a focus group can help them try out your product and discuss it with a representative from your company to derive insights that will help you improve upon the product. You can give them a few sales pitches for your product and have the session recorded, following it up with important questions to the consumers. Ask them what product they would be more likely to buy and the reasons for it, as well as the way the sales pitches made them feel.
5. Conduct surveys & one-on-one interviews: Surveys are one of the most effective ways of getting honest and frank responses from consumers about your brand or products. The insights derived from surveys can help formulate long-term strategies and also help improve upon existing features. Ask specific questions – multiple-choice questions or ratings are a good way to ensure that it isn’t too open-ended. Analyze the results thoroughly to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your brand.
6. Provide product sampling and tests: Another way to test the waters while compiling research is to reach out to consumers with product samples or tests. Reach out to existing consumers with samples of any improvements to your product or a beta test if your product relates to software.
Collecting feedback from your customers on this will help you understand thoroughly whether the product is ready for the market or requires further review. Market research is an activity no company should ignore, and so implementing any of the above methods will give you valuable insights into the minds of your target audience and let you know whether you are on the right track with your product.