Market Research is a fundamental part of starting and growing your business, and this is one of the elements that our business advisors always advise our clients to focus on, as it really helps you understand your customers.
Our very own business adviser, Anne-Marie, shares her Top 5 tips on how to get started on how to use market research to grow your business.
If you have ever checked out a restaurant on Trip adviser, been on a cost comparison website, or just “shopped around” on the internet (or even on the high street) before you have made a purchase then you have conducted Market Research!!
We are all constantly “researching” the world around us and yet in the business world, it’s surprising how many businesses do not consider market research as one of the most important aspects of their business planning.
Market Research is a critical component of any business plan and any organizational strategic thinking. It shapes the direction and decisions that a business takes, provides essential information to guide resource allocation, and helps businesses and brands to understand and connect with their clients and customers.
The term Market Research was first coined in the 1920s when a man named Daniel Starch decided to evaluate the effectiveness of advertising to see if it was seen, read, believed, remembered, and critically acted upon. Starch carried out his research by approaching people on the street to ask if they had read certain publications, and if so, if they remembered specific adverts in them (and if they took any action as a result). He then compared the effectiveness not only of the adverts but also how well read each of the publications were as well.
George Gallup followed shortly after and extended his research to include recall from radio and television advertising. The Gallup organisation was founded in 1935 and is now a household name synonymous with market research.
There have been many other pioneers who have developed the science of market research over the years but what remains is that market research is within the reach of most businesses no matter the size, and it can be conducted effectively by following these 5 tips:
ONE – Be clear about the question that you hope to answer.
This can sometimes be the hardest part but it is important to gather information about customers, competitors, and costs.
TWO – Use both Secondary and Primary methods.
Secondary methods include desk work – finding out information that is already “out there” – this could be from websites, social media, or publications. Primary research is getting out and speaking to people and trying out interviews and questionnaires to really narrow down what your target customers need and want.
THREE – Do not make assumptions – keep an open mind.
Avoid bringing your own personal assumptions, beliefs, and values into your research – this will potentially cause you to apply bias in the way you ask the questions and even more importantly the way that you interpret the answers.
FOUR – Be systematic in the way that you record your information.
Record everything that you find out and try to apply some analysis – can you spot any trends? do the same responses keep coming up? are there some key competitors dominating your market? These are all important when helping you to design your market approach and strategies.
FIVE – Put your findings into action.
Market research is always subject to your own interpretation and of course, it’s your choice whether to act upon it. But do not make the mistake of conducting the research and then ignoring it – your findings may not be relevant immediately but could be really useful in the future.
Finally – make market research a fundamental part of your business plan – it will shape every part of your planning so do not neglect it and try to keep it up to date as realistically the market, your customers, and your competitors will change over time.
There you have it – using market research to grow your business is not only savvy – it’s a must.
If you want to take your business to the next level or get it off the ground, our ‘Market Research For Business’ 2-part course will help you do this. If you are living in Liverpool City Region, you can book your fully- funded place on the course (there will be no cost to you).
For more information and to book:
If you are living in the Liverpool City Region and looking to start or grow your business or want to upskill, get in contact with our wonderful engagement team, they can talk you through what support is available and how we can help. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us at 0151 7068111 or pop in and say hi, we are based at 54 St James Street, L1 0AB.