Market research is a systematic, objective collection and analysis of data about your target market, products and/or services, and your competitive environment. The information collected will help you as a business better understand your customers, your market positioning and guide you in making future strategic decisions.
In our opinion it should always be the starting point for any marketing communications strategy, to find out where you are now, how your customers and what it’s going to take to get to where you want to be!
It is also important to remember that it is not simply a one on off activity. It should be part of a continuous cycle of reviewing, analyzing, understanding, and implementing your marketing.
Customer Research should be done periodically to assess changes within the business, your competitive environment, and most importantly your relationship with your customers. Involving a third-party to undertake your market research will give you a completely objective view of your customers and your business, as customers will often tell a third party things they are not comfortable telling you directly. You’ll find that your customers will be willing to open up more to a third party, and provide much more valuable information that you may gather directly from tools such as customer satisfaction surveys.
If done properly, the findings and conclusions from market research will have a value that exceeds the cost of the research itself.
With this all said, what are the actual benefits of undertaking market research? While the answer to this question is different for each business, here are our top 5 reasons why we love market research.
Market research helps you identify opportunities in your marketplace
Understanding your customer’s needs and wants can help you be proactive in implementing services or products. You might find that a product you have in the pipeline really isn’t needed, or maybe your customers have some great ideas for new products or services and the way they are delivered.
It can also help you identify if there are any changes to your current products and services that may need to be changed.
It will help you evaluate and plan communication with current and potential customers
Understanding what communication your customers like or don’t like is key to building better relationships. Maybe they would like more industry news through newsletters, or they may want new product catalogues sent in the mail. It could be as simple as your smaller customers preferring phone calls rather than emails.
Communication is key to any business, no matter the industry or size, so don’t underestimates its importance.
Market Research measures your reputation and positioning within the marketplace
It’s important to understand how your current and potential customers see you compared to your competitors. What are the key things that your business is offering that are keeping customers, or perceptions that may be keeping potential customers away? Do your customers know about your full range of products and services?
The answers to these types of questions will determine what brand messages are working, and more importantly which ones aren’t.
Research helps you strategically plan ahead
From business development, new product development, to your communication strategies, market research will help you guide decisions for the future. Are there future opportunities within your current market? Or should you try targeting a different sector? What are the current trends, and what issues are your customers facing in their particular industries?
It shows that you care
Engaging with your customer shows that you value them as a customer, and you value what they have to say. It shows that you care about your relationship with them, and it shows that you care about your business.
Outsource to Us offers a range of customer research tools to meet the needs of your customer market. Whether it is electronic surveys for a large database, or telephone interviews to gather more detailed information. We can also undertake one on one interviews, and focus groups. And most importantly we can help you review and understand the research findings, and guide you in implementing your findings throughout your business.
Learn more about market research here.