business mastermind, marketing

A little Market Research goes a long way!

For many business owners, market research ranks on up there with paying taxes and root canals! It is one of those critical business strategies that people go to extreme lengths to avoid – and yet even a few hours invested here wisely can make a huge difference in your bottom line!
Market research gives you insight into your market, your competitors, and your customers.  
It helps you:
  • Make better business decisions which saves you time and money
  • Focus your resources where they will be most effective.
  • Improve your position in the marketplace.

So why don’t more entrepreneurs embrace this activity?

I think it’s because most people don’t realize how easy it can be.  They hear terms like “quantitative” and “qualitative” research – and run!

Don’t let the lingo scare you – market research is simply finding information about your competition and your customers. Depending on your business model (and personality type!) you may need to deeper – but most entrepreneurs can uncover some pretty great stuff in a few :60 minute sessions with Google and regular conversations with clients and potential customers.

Your Competition:

  1. Find 3-4 websites of competitors.  Study them.
  2. Who are they targeting?
  3. What information/value do they provide?
  4. What is their opt-in? (Sign up for it and study their follow-up sequence)
  5. What is their point of difference?
  6. How do they package their products and services?
  7. What are they charging?
  8. What can you do differently?
Your Customers:
The key is to ask the right people the right questions, and ask enough people to get meaningful results.  Asking friends and relatives what they think about your ideas is not market research. You need to gather information from a significant sample of people who match the profile of your target audience. 
Here are some basic survey questions to ask:
  1. Gender 
  2. Age Range:  under 21      22-34       35-44        45-54        55-65            over 65
  3. Education:    High School Some College     AA       BA      Graduate School      Other
  4. Income:    <$25K          $25K – $75K        $75K – $100K      over $100K
  5. Do you own your home or rent?
  6. What do you like most about our product?
  7. What changes would most improve our product?
  8. What do you like most about products from other companies?
  9. What changes would most improve products from other companies?
  10. What would make you more likely to use our new product?
  11. How much would you expect to pay for this type of product?

Keep in mind that unless people really know and like you and your products and services, survey response rates are generally low. Offering an incentive can help lift those rates.

Other Types of Research:
There is a lot of info on the internet about your industry, your market, and buying patterns…a few simple searches can reveal details that might change the way you position or market yourself.
If you are thinking about a location –  observe traffic. You may also want to carry out an experiment as part of your market research, such as a blind tasting of different products. Or even watching people as they shop!
Market research needs to be a regular planned part of your marketing. Even if you are an established business, you need to stay in touch with your customers’ needs as well as market trends and your competitors. It measures the effectiveness of your own marketing, giving you information about attitudes to everything from packaging and advertising to brand name awareness.
What do you think?  Do you research your customers and competition?  What works for you?  I woulds love to hear YOUR thoughts below!

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