For any business, it is not enough to only have a deep insight into its products. You are not running a business in isolation. Understand that you are part of a certain market, and you have to evaluate the market to run a business successfully. That’s where market research comes in. It is an important tool that helps you to identify your customer base and their main points.
As businesses are being globalized on a mass scale, brands have to stay on top of their research otherwise they will have no chance to compete with their rivals. In the cut-throat competition of the modern-era, once you lag, it will be very tough to catch up, unless you hire a market research agency.
If you want to be successful with your market research, you need to faithfully stick to the following steps:
- Define the Objective of the Research
There has to be something that triggers the businesses to go for research in the first place. It could be an opportunity, a problem or something along those lines. Whatever it may be, you must be clear about it. For example, your company wants to launch a product in a completely new geographic region. It would require you to find out the answers to so many underlying questions like “What is the income of the average person in that region?”, “What can influence your target audience to buy your products?”, “Why other companies have failed to do well in that particular area?” etc.
The point is, clear identification of problems or questions, leads to clear outcomes. Sometimes the research can go off track as you dig into the process. The best way to handle this problem is to write down all the end goals you want to achieve with the research and focus on them one by one.
- Select a Research Method
Once you have identified the questions, it is time to select a research method that can provide the best answers for your queries. There are various types of research designs available. Keeping the end-result in mind, you can opt for any of them.
following choices are some:
- Descriptive Research: If your business is keen to collect data from the perspective of “what” rather than “why, “when”, or how”, descriptive research could be your go-to strategy. Among other things, it is very useful for attaining objectives like measuring data trends, drawing comparisons between different groups, evaluating present business conditions, and so on. It focuses on close-ended questions. A survey is the easiest and most common form of this research.
- Exploratory Research: Exploratory research is about going deeper into a problem. If you are unclear about your hypothesis, exploratory research will be immensely helpful to narrow down your focus. Since this research design is based on qualitatively gathering data, the candidates are given a free hand to express their opinion. One way to engage in exploratory research is to create a list of open-ended questions and ask them on either telephone or face to face.
- Explanatory Research: This type of research is also dubbed as casual research. If you want the answers to questions like “does my customer service help to uptick my bottom line?”, explanatory research can do a world of good for you. In other words, you can easily establish a relationship between two things with the help of explanatory research.
- Gather Data
This is where the scope of your research gets a little broader because now you are all set to execute the research plan. Many businesses don’t collect data in one form. They ensure that they gather data in both forms – qualitative and quantitative. It gives them a clear picture of the concerned problem. Sometimes the truth could be something other than what the graphs or stats show.
Gathering the right data has a lot to do with how you draft the questions. If your questions are influencing the people then you might not be able to draw the right conclusions. So make sure you remain unbiased throughout the research.
- Crunch Data
Its time to analyze the data. The first thing you need to do is to structure all the scattered pieces of information. Many tools can assist you with this task, so make it a point to exploit them. Now, as you begin to examine the data, keep your mind free from all the prior assumptions. You have to get over all the past conclusions and observe the current information with an open mind.
Often, the researchers are preoccupied with a certain notion and they don’t hesitate to manipulate the data to meet that goal. There is no use of such fabricated findings.
Even if the final results are nowhere near to your hypothesis, let it be. Don’t try to tailor results in your favor by hook or crook. At the end of the day, the right results matter to your business more than anything else.
- Implement the Result
If you have reached this step that means you are done with all the hard work. It’s time to reap the benefits by implementing the conclusions. Before officially starting a marketing campaign, it would be wise to test these findings on a small scale. This will prove the effectiveness of the research.
You may think that you have reached a dead-end in your research, but the cycle of research never comes to an end. You have to assess the market consistently to know whether the trend you are following is still relevant or not.
Businesses are all about being current and market research takes care of this aspect. Given the technological boom, conducting market research is not as difficult as it used to be. Social media polls and surveys are a great example of that. However, the accuracy of your research will depend upon how strongly you subscribe to the above steps.