Market research – what it is and how to do it
A great deal is said about the importance of market research. It is an essential element of management, where every thriving company needs to get to know about the market – their clients, competitors or product trends. When we obtain precise information, we are able to plan our action, decide the budget and observe the results in the most efficient way. We could be aware of different marketing research activities, but have we ever thought what market research is? Have a look at the article below to find an answer to the posed question.
1. Market research – what is it?
If we want to consider the types of market research, we need to look at the meaning of this concept first. In brief, market research is a process concentrated on information seeking. As the same name suggests, the data is related to market participants and operations, including customers behaviors, demand for products or services, the competitors’ moves and so on. We can meet with interchanging this name with “marketing research”, but the specialists distinguish these two terms. They point out that “market research” is more about the markets in general meaning, then marketing research concerns marketing processes.
2. Types of market research
There are thousands of types of businesses, and as many kinds of companies, as different market research strategies. We can choose from qualitative and quantitative techniques, and in general, we could state two types of market research by the way we obtained information:
- primary data – new information we get directly from sources, such as telephone calls or interviews.
- secondary data – existing information which has been published by someone else already, e.g., government statistics.
With an eye to presented division, we can define other several types of marketing research:
2.1 Primary data collection methods
As we know now, primary data is about getting new information directly from first-hand. To collect this kind of figures, we can use some options below:
2.1.1 Focus group
How to get to know what customers think about our product or service? The easiest way is just to ask them. We only need to create a particular so-called focus group. It should be made up of six to ten people with a leader on the top. The leader is a moderator who holds the discussion and asks others what they think about the presented product or service. During the conversation, the assembled can take their view – both positive and negative one. It is a kind of honest talk, where we might get handy hints on how to hone our offer. Naturally, people in the focus group should be from the market segment which interest us the most and to whom we would like to reach.
2.1.2 In-depth interview
One of the marketing research examples is a technique known as an in-depth interview. This is a kind of conversation when we ask the interlocutor about the experience, opinions, and suggestions to our offer. It can be a telephone call or face-to-face talk when we are able to observe our converses body language and draw conclusions if they understand the questions. It is essential to prepare a set of questions which gears your interlocutor for expressing the opinion and do not forget to choose the proper style of conversation. The precise approach to the matter let you obtain the throughgoing information.
The survey is a prepared set of questions, where a company might determine customers vital statistics, their preferences, interests, and expectations. If we want to gain the most meaningful results, we should ask appropriate questions in a proper way. What does it mean? We should create a question in that way, the interviewee would like to answer it and does not put us off.
The example could be a situation, when a research marketer, who works for a communications service provider, calls the clients of special line rental and ask if they are glad about the service or there is something that should be changed. In the light of the collected data, the manager has a grasp of the customer’s feelings. That’s why he is able to spring into action when there would be a necessity for change.
2.1.4 Social media monitoring
Social media monitoring is also known as social listening. The name isn’t accidental – by means of social listening, we are able to observe how our brand is perceived in the eyes of internauts.
This type of market research is slightly different from the previous ones – in this case, we do not have to get into a discussion with customers, but we only analyze their moves on the internet. It is also related to the observation of your competitor’s actions. Compare what other businesses do and check if it benefits in any way.
To facilitate the research process, there are special social media monitoring tools. We can choose from the paid and free one. These programs let you see what influences people the most, how long your post should be an even draw up the reports.
Another method of market research is testing the service or product we would like to launch. Think about the advertising channels and partners, who can help you promote the offer. After the determination of your target audience, you can decide to perform the product for In-Home Usage Test (IHUT). IHUT is where users try it in their houses and express their opinions after testing. The second way is Central Location Test (CLT). In this case, the customers come to a specified place (e.g., restaurant or shop), use the good there and share their views. The choice depends on the kind of offer. For example, if you want to sell anti-wrinkle cream, it is better to send an article to the user’s home, because the activation of the cosmetic needs time and the tester has to wait for the effects.
After the consumption is always time for feedback. Obtaining such meaningful information leads to making modifications in our offer and adjust it to the customers’ expectations.
2.2 Secondary data types of market research
Secondary data, as distinct from the primary one, is about collecting information from existing sources. Another entity has collected features already, so preying on that kind of information is time-saving and cost-efficient. There are some possibilities to take advantage of secondary data, such as:
2.2.1 Other companies website
Nowadays, we can find almost everything on the internet. So why don’t we make use of websites of other companies? Pages can be a good source of information – there are presented different kinds of reports, presentations, statistics and many details about specified products or services the businesses major in. We can also find out opinions and rates from customers who purchased the product. In their comments might be a head of significant tips on how to boost the offer and what kind of operations we should avoid.
2.2.2 Administrative data
Marketing research strategies might use administrative data for getting close to the target. Government departments routinely accumulate data which are publicized. Information includes vital statistics, tax records, health status, social security and so on. Due to quantitative analysis and censuses made by a government agency, we are able to estimate our audience target and find out and compare their behaviors and states over a long period. Undoubtedly, the advantages of this form of market research are the availability and reliability of the information we can use every time.
2.2.3 Institutions and associations publications
Next, to the government’s and other companies (which not necessarily must be our competitors) data, there are other sources of secondary information. We can find reports and articles of particular industry entities. Most of them keep blogs full of results of scrutinies concerning the specified part of the business we are focused on. New posts shed light on innovative techniques or trends. And because of the informal style of writing, articles could be useful in understanding different processes.
Understanding the market operations lets us choose the best types of marketing analysis for our company and prepare a plan which would be a ground for business success. We might collect information on our pat – draw special groups of potential customers in testing our offer and asking for feedback, or observe their behavior on the internet. Naturally, this is also a possibility to use information that has been published before. When we base on census and reports from other agencies, we do not spend our time on market research, so that it could be used for other promoting operations.
There is nothing more to do than go over mentioned marketing research types and create the strategy the most proper for your line of business – good luck!
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