Market research can improve your marketing strategy by giving you concrete feedback regarding your product or service. You can use the information from your study in your marketing strategy to define your target market, choose your product or service image, position your product, and price it appropriately.
According to Market Research World, market research is “a systematic, objective collection and analysis of data about a particular target market, competition, and/or environment.” Market research can define your target market or see how successful your product or service is in the marketplace. Market research can be quantitative, which uses numbers (for instance, a scale from 1 to 10) to describe customer appreciation of such things as quality, cost and satisfaction. The study can also be qualitative, which uses the customers' own words to explain their feelings about your product or service.
Market research allows you to create a targeted marketing strategy. This plan can improve your sales and your customer satisfaction. Market research can be used to study new product ideas, product performance and marketplace position. It can also be used to measure customer service satisfaction. Many independent marketing firms conduct market research. You can contract with these businesses, or perform your own market study.
Your market research is a collection of concrete feedback about your products or services. You can use these opinions to tweak your business plan. Without facts, you would be guessing about which steps to take in your marketing strategy, which could mean missing your target market (and thus, missing sales opportunities). Since marketing strategy leads your business’s overall marketing direction, a study that gives you hard numbers about product or service performance can be invaluable. The results of your market research determine the type of media you should utilize, what type of image your advertising should portray, and what kinds of product or service changes will increase your sales.
Studying your market and their acceptance of your products or services can tell you who your customers are, how they act, what they think, and what you need to do to get (or keep) them as your customers. Your market research results will only be as good as your study’s questions. Questions should be as specific as possible about your product or service. Try to focus your questions on features (the parts of your product) and benefits (what your customer gains from using the product). This information will allow you to easily alter areas where your product or service is most deficient.
While a lot of market research is conducted by phone or via paper surveys, many marketers are turning to the Web. In particular, because of the National Do Not Call Registry and restrictions on auto-dialers, it is speculated that many market researchers will completely abandon calls for online surveys in the near future. The Internet also offers hands-off market research options. Cookies (small snippets of code downloaded to a computer once a website is visited) allow you to track your customers' buying habits without asking them directly for the information.
Meagan Van Beest took up writing after graduating with a bachelor's degree in English literature. She has worked in advertising and marketing for the past decade. Her writing has appeared in advertising, brochures, newspapers and online magazines. Currently, as creative director of a design firm, she oversees the graphics, copy writing, and creative direction of print and Web design projects.