Competing in today’s market means companies must be smarter than in the past. Utilizing market research to better understand consumers, industry trends and competition is often the best way for businesses to boost their profitability and visibility within the marketplace. Gone are the days of simply having a novel idea and presenting it to the public. Instead, companies must innovate, plan, research and market in order to get their products in front of the most number of customers. Doing this correctly takes skill and patience. Here’s a quick look at how you can avoid some of the most common market research mistakes that companies make when it comes time to tackle your next project:
Choose a Specific Question to Answer
Too often businesses fail to have a clear understanding of what they need to know. It’s not feasible to simply undertake a project to “see what’s out there.” You need to have a specific question to answer: “Who needs this product or service?” “How much will consumers pay for it?” “What is our competition doing?” The list is endless. Choose a question – make it explicit – and go from there.
Identify an Appropriate Population to Target and Survey
Don’t rely on people you know to give you honest feedback. Identify your target consumer base and then interview, survey and discuss your product or service with them. Opinions from the wrong people have no value to you.
Consider Relevant and Varied Resource Materials
Good market research utilizes both primary and secondary sources. Primary research is that information which you collect firsthand, and secondary research is collected and presented by other sources. It’s not enough to do a Google search and call it a day. Nor is it adequate to rely only on information gathered from trade journals or government reports. These are great starting points, but quality research will entail a variety of sources and multiple personal contacts with your own target consumer base through the use of many different data collection tools. Not utilizing a variety of relevant sources will cripple your ability to gain a well-rounded view of your product or service.
Recognize Your Bias
It’s easy to over-value your own expertise. Remember New Coke or Olean or that time Playboy decided to get rid of its centerfold? One of the most disastrous market research mistakes is thinking you know everything. Combat the urge to make assumptions. Listen to what those around you are saying. Take your research, ask questions and act on it!
Have a Plan and Follow-Through
Finally, it’s important to have a plan when conducting market research. Businesses frequently make the mistake of rushing into market research projects in order to make decisions with their backs against the wall. Maybe it’s a year-end report that needs supporting data or a board meeting that requires specific demographic information. Don’t let an upcoming deadline drive your decisions. And don’t get bogged down by your data as it comes in. Instead, develop a budget, make a detailed proposal of how you are going to collect your information and use it and then stick to that plan.
Recognizing the importance of market research is the first step in gaining quality results. Let our team at Communications for Research help you resist falling victim to the common (and uncommon) market research mistakes you might encounter when undertaking your next project. Contact our co-CEO Colson Steber today to discuss your upcoming market research project!
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