Getting The Knack Of Market Research
“I have always found that plans are useless, but [the act of] planning is indispensable.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Planning is the first stage in creating a winning strategic business strategy, however planning requires accurate data in order to make reliable projections and forecasts. Plans based on unreliable or inadequate intelligence are essentially worthless. So, it’s critically important to the success of your business that the data from your market research is accurate, reliable, timely, and focussed.
The following steps can help you to improve the quality and depth of data that you receive from your market research.
Define Your Target
The amounts of data that you can gather in a given market research campaign are potentially limitless. Since you only have a limited amount of time and resources to spend on data collection, you need to limit your scope and focus on an actionable target.
Define the goals of your research before you begin your data collection process by figuring out what exactly you are trying to discover. Examples of common goals at this stage of market research include identifying your target market and their wants and needs, or learning the best price point for your product based on what the customer is willing to pay.
Research The Target
Before you get down to the fine details of planning your data collection process, you need to be certain that you fully understand the background and history of your target. To do so, you may need to study your current industry and trends, the historical performance of your business as well as the performance and strategy of your competitors. Once you have a full understanding of the target and its influences, you can proceed to the next step.
Planning the Data Collection Process
As soon as you have a firm handle of what you want to discover, and the background of your target, you can begin to plan to conduct your market research. Market research is normally divided by the type of goal which you hope to achieve.
Primary research collects data about the practices and performance of your company and your direct competitors. Secondary research looks at existing data within the market. Examples of data collection in primary research include focus groups, interviews and surveys. Secondary research includes analysing published data about your business, researching data on your competitors, or gathering your target’s data from social media posts.
As part of your planning process, you will want to decide what type of market research you wish to conduct and the time frame in which it is conducted. Next, you will want to design the data collection process of your research in such a way as you build in checks that look for and take into account human error.
Assigning team members to conduct the research and actually designing the surveys and finding volunteers for your focus groups are also all part of this process.
The plans made in this stage should remain flexible enough to allow you to adapt your research to sudden changes in the market or demographic.
Some market research specialists feel that controlling costs is really part of the design and planning process. Controlling your market research costs is integral to the financial health of your business, so it really deserves its own category. Since the data collection process as well as the analysis and presentation of your market research can be so expensive, it is very important that you create a budget solely for this expense and remain committed to staying within its guidelines.
Once you have successfully followed these four steps, you are ready to begin your market research and can be confident that you will obtain intelligence that is timely, focussed, reliable and that will allow you to take action based on the results. Since your market research will be more accurate, you are more likely to design a strategic business plan that helps your company to thrive and grow.
If you still have questions on how to get started conducting your own market research and creating your own strategic business plan, why not contact us for a consultation today?