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Identifying a potential customer’s needs, wants and objectives is vital for businesses. Companies are often most successful when they are able to tap in to the customer’s mind and understand what prompts their purchasing behaviour.
Conducting market research enables businesses to do just this and ensures that they have an in-depth understanding of what drives customer behaviour. While it’s important to know how customers act, it is even more valuable to understand why they behave in a certain way.
Once businesses are able to understand their target market, they can begin to offer products and services which meet the needs of their customers and increase incoming revenue accordingly.
What Methods Of Market Research Work?
There are various methods of market research and, while all are worthwhile, some are most suited to certain types of businesses or products.
Surveys, for example, are widely used by businesses when they want to capture market research data. They can be carried out in various ways, such as online or face-to-face, but they are often most accurate when the customer has the chance to complete the survey immediately after purchasing a product or service.
This ensures that their customer experience is fresh in their minds and allows them to give honest, impartial feedback. While companies may be keen to hear glowing reviews, negative feedback is extremely valuable as it enables businesses to modify their practices and increase customer satisfaction.
Surveys also allow a large number of people to take part in a market research activity and provide quantifiable data. As this data can easily be collated and analysed, businesses can gain a swift insight into customer responses.
Alternatively, focus groups can be carried out in order to obtain more in-depth customer views. Generally, focus groups are comprised of a relatively small amount of people but numerous groups can be conducted in order to increase the sample size.
While data obtained via focus groups tends to be less measurable than the information gained by surveys, it can offer more qualitative information. Furthermore, focus groups are run by a moderator and this person is able to ask follow up questions in order to gain more information from subjects.
If businesses would like participants to try a particular product before providing feedback, focus groups can be the ideal way to facilitate this.
Similarly, interviews allow businesses to conduct exploratory research and provide in-depth feedback in the same way that focus groups do. Conducting interviews, however, can be time-consuming as each participant is normally interviewed separately. While the value of this type of market research cannot be ignored, it is not a viable option for many businesses due to the time and cost involved.
Observation and field experiments are also a great way for companies to collate qualitative data. While they may not enable businesses to determine why people are behaving in a particular way, they can be used to gain vast amounts of information regarding how people are behaving.
Although there are various methods of market research, businesses will often use a combination of these methods in order to obtain a range of data. In addition to this, working with experienced market research companies often enables businesses to access the most reliable type of information.
Benefiting From Independent Market Research
If businesses attempt to conduct their own market research activities, they could unintentionally skew the results. A focus group moderator, for example, should be impartial and unrelated to the brand or product which is being discussed and using market research agencies enables businesses to obtain impartial data which can be used for future business planning.
In addition to this, experienced marketing companies are familiar with the process of conducting market research and are able to provide advice, guidance and assistance. Your market research agency may be able to determine which type of research will be most suited to your business, product or service, for example.
Many researchers have undertaken professional qualifications to further their career and have experience in conducting these types of research activities. Conducting market research interviews or moderating a focus group may sound simple, but obtaining useful data requires skill, experience and training, and a market research agency is likely to provide all of this.
Using their expertise, a market research agency’s researchers are able to get the most out of participants and still ensure that the data obtained is impartial, truthful and of value.
What Types Of Businesses Benefit From Market Research?
The value of well-conducted market research shouldn’t be underestimated. Any business, organisation or company can benefit from market research activities. In fact, businesses should consider carrying out market research prior to the introduction of any new products or services.
Although a new product concept may seem profitable on paper, market research will confirm whether there is a real interest in the potential product, what problems you may encounter and whether consumers would buy the product and, if so, for how much.
In some cases, companies have saved millions of pounds by halting the development of a product due to the response obtained via market research. Despite the in-house expertise, sometimes a potential issue with a product is picked up by consumers during the market research process.
As a result, the development of the product or service can be stopped or adapted, thus saving the company a considerable amount of money and resources, as well as avoiding potentially negative PR.
While established businesses should work with market research agencies on a regular basis, start-ups can also benefit from working with marketing companies prior to launch. Setting up a business can require significant investment and a wealth of resources. Before you launch, therefore, it’s vital to ensure that there is a demand for the product or service you’re offering, and marketing companies who are experts in market research will be able to provide you with this information.
By accessing secondary data and working with market research companies to obtain primary data, you can ensure that your perceived customer base will be receptive to your business idea. By using their feedback to help shape your business, you can increase the chances of providing a much needed and wanted product or service and benefit from the sales that will follow.
Gaining Commercial Awareness With Market Research
Often, businesses use different types of market research to obtain information about their own brand, product or service. Participants may be asked what they think of a product, how much they’d pay for a particular service or whether they feel any loyalty to the brand, for example.
While this can provide extremely valuable insight, businesses can also use market research techniques to learn more about participants’ views on their competitors, market trends and their current spending habits.
If consumers feel more brand loyalty to one company than another, for example, you can determine what their reasoning is behind this decision and use it to increase loyalty to your own business.
Getting The Most From Market Research
Furthermore, market research agencies can successful conduct research with subsections of your target demographic. If you’re aiming a product at new parents, for example, you may want to separate the market research activities so that you there is a clear demarcation between the views of parents with older children, newborns and those expecting a child.
Carrying out market research in this way enables businesses to identify the feelings and opinions of different groups within their customer base. As a result, they can incorporate different marketing strategies when their product is launched and ensure that they are able to create effective dialogues with different demographics in their target audience.
As companies need to market their goods or services effectively in order to profit, it follows that market research must be carried out. It is only by learning about the market, that companies can successful engage with their potential customers.
As with any research activity, however, market research must be conducted professionally. If companies use the market research companies and market research agencies on Cost Compare Limited to carry out research activities on their behalf, they should benefit from high-quality data which can be used to refine their business strategies and increase their sales.