Research your market
Before investing any money on developing or advertising a new product or service, it is important to find out if anyone wants it. Researching the market enables you to test your idea, evaluate the competition and check to make sure your idea is viable.
The following headings will help guide you through the process.
The first thing you need to discover is what sets you apart from all the other competitors in the market. There is a temptation to say that the people within your organisation is what makes it unique. Unfortunately, that’s not good enough. Consider the following:
- What does my product or service provide that is better than anything else available?
- How can I go the extra mile to ensure my customers have the best user experience?
- Is my product or service required by the general public or is it more niche?
- Can my product or service solve my customer’s problems in a way that’s never been done before.
- How is my product or service easier to use than that of my competitors.
It is essential to know who your customers are so that you can tailor your products and services to meet their needs. Defining them will also help you build a relationship with them in your communications. It is highly probable that you will have multiple customer types. To help you identify your customer types consider the following:
- Who is buying similar products and services?
- Create a picture of each of your ideal target customers based on their demographic (age, gender, profession etc.), likes, dislikes and behaviours.
- What needs or problems will your products or services solve for each of your customer types?
- Will your customers types be interested in paying for the products and services you offer?
Once you have established that there are customers for your products or services, you then need to find out how much to charge. Consider the following:
- What prices are being charged for similar products and services by your competitors.
- Ask potential customers how much they would be willing to pay.
- Could you charge different prices to different customers based on levels of service or quality?
- Could you offer discounted packages of products?
- Try some either or questions with different customer types to find out what your product or service is actually worth.
- Once you have decided on a pricing structure, ensure that your business idea is still viable.
By finding out what your competitors are doing, you can challenge them on price and service.
- Check out what people think of your competitors’ prices, levels of service and what could be improved by asking their current customers.
- Research your competitors online, through trade associations, trade publications, market reports, local chamber of commerce and their advertising
- Ask your competitors questions either by phoning them or email.
If you are developing a product it is essential to find out what potential customers think of it.
- Develop a prototype to test it.
- Use focus groups to obtain a wide range of opinions.
- Use questionnaires and surveys.
- Surveys, questionnaires and focus groups can be carried out simply and cheaply using online platforms like Mailchimp, Survey Monkey and social media.
- All answers should offer a score or opinion rather than a yes or no.
- All questions should be clear and concise.
- Be wary of questions that could be misinterpreted
- Encourage both positive and negative responses
- Ask a reasonable number of people to get a better perspective.
- Do not try to lead people to a particular answer.
- Be realistic and remember that people don’t always say what they feel.
- Get qualitative data that involve thoughts and feelings
- Get quantitative data that involve facts and figures that can be measured.
A Continual Process
Market research should be done continually. Once you become established in a market, your competitors will look to copy and improve on what you are doing to reclaim their lost market share. By regularly testing and researching your market, and adapting your products in light of any feedback, you should always stay one step ahead.
For more information…
For help with market research or generating leads call the marketing team at Local Pages on 0117 9231122 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org