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A Comprehensive Guide to Market Research

Market research is an organized effort to gather information about customers, the competition, or industry you're in. Market research is vital for company success. It allows business owners or managers the ability to determine the feasibility of a business or product before committing substantial resources.

Whether you’re a Fortune 500 or a small startup, market research is vital for growth and success.

Market Research Involves Two Types of Data

Primary Information:

This is data you compile yourself or hire someone to gather for you

When conducting primary research, you are looking to gather two types of information: exploratory or specific. Exploratory research helps you define a specific problem, and usually involves detailed, unstructured interviews in which lengthy answers are solicited from a small group of respondents. Specific research, is smaller in scope and is used to solve a problem that exploratory research has identified. Interviews are structured and formal in approach.

Secondary Information:

This type of data that is already compiled and organized for you. Usually this data can be found from Government agencies or other businesses. For example, let's say you were interested in starting your own luxury car dealership. You would probably want to look at some studies for income levels for your target market before conducting your own research.

The use of online tools, such as SurveyKing, makes primary research a breeze.

How to Leverage Market Research

Now that you know what market research entails, let's dive into the specifics of what information you can gather.

Research a Target Market:

Your target market is the group of consumers who would find your product or service most useful. A good survey here would send out a survey with opinions on a product or service in addition to asking age, income level, education level or any other demographic. From here you can segment your results and find out what characteristics makes up your target market.

Market Segmentation:

Now that you know your general target market, a more specific group of those people is a segment. With the dealership example, maybe you realize consumers in your area and target market love Audi but hate BMW. Both are luxury cars and people of the same income level drive them but this difference in product preference is a segment. Knowing this is ley to offer the correct brands or prices.

Competitor Analysis:

Often called SWOT analysis (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), analyzing your competition is key to gaining market share. Go directly to consumers and ask about their opinions on competitors. Ask questions about what they do well or what you do well. Your survey results will help you identify opportunities for growth or ways your company needs to change to stay competitive.

Product Testing:

Your target market is the group of consumers who would find your product or service most useful. A good survey here would send out a survey with opinions on a product or service in addition to asking age, income level, education level or any other demographic. From here you can segment your results and find out what characteristics makes up your target market.

Does your product meet your customers' needs? Sending an online product survey to customers will help you gain insights that drive improvements, consumer satisfaction, and ultimately, sales. Ask questions such as "What changes would most improve our product?" Or, "What do you like most about competing products currently available?"

Keep these questions in mind for product testing:

Tips for Creating the Perfect Market Research Survey

Define the Problem:

Why are you doing research? If you had the answers you need how will it benefit you or the company? Having a clear set of objectives will ensure you are asking the right questions to get the data you are looking for.

Create an Objective:

Once you get the data what actions will you take with it? Are you going to just present an idea to your boss or will you change a product? Whatever the object is make sure it is clear. This will also ensure the correct questions are asked so the correct data is gathered.

Determine How to Send Your Survey:

Do you have a customer list or do you want opinions of general consumers? Look at our sample size calculator to determine your needed sample size. This data will enable you to know how many surveys you need to send out.

Use Advanced Features:

Skip logic and answer piping to better engaged your audience. The more enaged your respondents are the more likely they will complete your survey. Be sure to use advanced analytical features like data segmentation to spot hidden trends in your results. Dive deep into demographics and what motives your consumers.

Keep Your Survey Short:

No one wants to be overwhelmed. Keep your survey under 20 questions. Generally, 2 pages with 5 questions each should be enough to gather the data you need and not annoy your consumers.

Offer incentives! Offer respondents a discount if they take your survey. This will help drum up new business and ensure you can collect the data you need.

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