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Market Research - How well do you know your customer?
By Lisa Williams

What Is Market Research?

Market research should be a key aspect of your business. Knowing about your customers, potential customers, your competitors and the marketplace environment will position your company to be competitive for business.

Determining if there is an expanded market for your products or services is the most critical part of your business planning. Market research helps you to identify opportunities within the market place.

Customers are central to market research, and in making a business succeed. As a company you need to know who your customers are, what they want, and what the business drivers are for the future.

There are two types of users to research. The first is your customer, a company or institution who is already involved with your products. Thesecond is your competitions customers; these are already users of your type of product, instrument or service however who aren’t using your products.

Steps In Market Research

Think First!
Before you start your market research take some time to think about decisions, problems and opportunities. What do you want the research to achieve?

Think Research!
Once your objective is decided there are numerous ways of researching; surveys, discussions, observations and experiments.
Market surveys, for example, can be a very powerful tool to decide what your market needs and how your company can market them.

The questions your market survey should look at are;

  • Who is the customer?
  • What is the market?
  • How big is the market in volume and financial terms?
  • What competition exists?
  • What is your place in the market?
  • What do customers think of your company?

Think Budget!
Once you’ve decided on the type of research take time to think about how much money and time will be needed.

Think Logistics!
It is important to think about who your research will be distributed to and how your research will be distributed. For example,
Surveys can be distributed in a variety of ways

ONE ON ONE - interviewing customers one on one allows you to gain personal information.
MAIL - surveys sent by mail
TRADE SHOW - this is when surveys are distributed at relevant tradeshows for your company.
ELECTRONIC - surveys are sent electronically via email.

Think Analysis!
Once the data is collected it needs to be analyzed. Focus on the information relevant to your objective.

Think Practice!
Put into practice the information gained from the market research.

What Can We Gain From Market Research?
Market research allows us to set a benchmark for the company. This is used in the future to measure against, and help you to track your progress. It allows you to increase the sales to your core customers by meeting their needs; it also enables you to expand your customer base. The information gained will help your company to adapt and develop, and generally help you to improve the perception and position of your company within the market.


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