Research is the cornerstone of any successful marketing and sales effort. Thorough market research provides a great deal of information about potential and existing customers, competition, and the industry in general.
It allows you to determine the overall feasibility of a business before making a substantial investment in the venture. Failure to conduct market research is like driving a car with a dirty windshield.
You may not see what’s ahead of you until it’s too late.
The purpose of market research is to provide relevant data that will help solve marketing problems your business might encounter.
This is absolutely necessary in the start-up phase. Conducting thorough market surveys is the foundation of any successful business. In fact, strategies such as identifying specific segments within a market and creating an identity for your product or service that separates it from your competitors, would be impossible to develop without market research.
Market research allows you to:
See if a market exists for your product or service.
Define the size of the market you’ve identified.
Identify typical customer characteristics.
Analyse market trends.
Keep tabs on your competition.
Give your customer what they want, as opposed to what you want to give them.
Realistically set your pricing structure.
The market research process can be broken down into specific stages:
Determining the problems that must be solved.
Determining which problems require research.
Listing the goals and objectives that market research will help you to achieve.
Identifying the type of data that you need to gather to meet those goals.
Planning the method you will use to acquire the desired information.
Defining the sample audience that will best provide you with the information required.
Conducting your market research and gathering the information.
Analysing the data.
Finally, you will need to develop conclusions based on the information gathered, and determine a course of action.