What makes any business plan a success is thorough market research. What makes market research a success is how well it covers all the bases of the business. In this blog, I’ve outlined a simplified approach to market research, which should make this daunting task a little less… well, daunting.
What organisations usually do when they start their research process is decide which strategy will fit their product, service or solution and then look for answers which confirm their preconceptions. The risk with this approach is that the answers they get might be biased towards what they’re looking to prove, rather than being a true reflection of the marketplace and what’s right for their business.
Here is a process to follow instead, which should result in the information you need to define a clear strategy to achieve your business goals.
Identify the pain points in your business. List your short, medium and long-term goals (we like to refer to these as your campaign, business and visionary goals) and assess what it is that is not letting you achieve them.
Perhaps your website isn’t appealing to your customers or not reaching the right people? Maybe your brand messaging is not in line with your target audience’s expectations? Have you clearly defined who your target audience is? There are many reasons why you might not be connecting with consumers or converting interest into sales. List as many as you can.
Once you’ve defined your goals and identified any potential obstacles, the next step is to detail how you will carry out the research process.
I would recommend a multi-layered approach which takes the following important points into consideration:
Your Industry / Market
- State of play – What is your market share and how is the market performing?
- Competitor Analysis – Who are your competitors, how are they performing and what is their market strategy? You might not want to compare yourself, but you can learn a lot from your competitors and their success or failures.
- Market Disruption – Which trends are disrupting the marketplace – or are likely to disrupt it – and how are you prepared for them? Being ready for, or better still, ahead of the curve with, these trends could define your long-term survival and success.