You know marketing research is one of the key points in your business. Whether you decide to open a store in a new location, revitalize your brand or launch a new product feature, research can in a certain way protect you from failure. It’s not easy to dive into the unknown sea of a foreign market, or to rely on the subjective perceptions you have of your customer’s buying behavior.
So, it’s settled – you recognize the need to run marketing research within your business. But wait, you’ll say. A small business hasn’t typically got unlimited resources to invest in this area. There will always be stringent tasks like paying your staff’s salaries, acquiring new technology for your business and ensuring your supplies. How does marketing research then fit in your budget?
Bear with us – we have some solutions for you. Market research doesn’t have to mean spending out a fortune. You can find tools and ideas to spare you some money, which you can always invest somewhere else.
1. Talk to your audience. It’s as simple as that: ask them and they shall respond. By having a direct talk with your key audience, you will receive first-hand information. Use this further on to analyze collected feedback, to outline the major ideas and to draw your course of action in your marketing strategy.
Scenario: You have a flower delivery business which is going pretty well. In an enthusiastic moment of yours, you thought to also open an event organizing agency, since you already handle the flower part. The question is if that’s a good idea, and if your customers might show interest in your extended service. Then why not ask them if they would be drawn to organize an event with you, once you deliver them the flowers?
Implementation. There is no silver bullet in finding the right way to talk to your customers. Try. Measure. Repeat to find the best solution for your case. Nevertheless, there’s a list of tools you can try.
– Create a market research survey and share it with your audience on your website, blog, social media channels, in your newsletters.
– Have contact forms placed across your various communication channels. Information coming through these forms can be a good source of marketing feedback.
– Ask customers when you have the chance, for example if you have one-on-one discussions with them, where you can bring this topic up.
– Talk to your customer service team to include market research topics in their interactions with the customers, as this team is so close to your key audience.
2. Listen to what people say out there. The Internet is full of useful information you might not even know of. Maybe someone from your exact business area has run a similar market research and published the results of it. While you have to pay attention in applying these results to yourself, they can still serve as an orientation on the state of the market.
Scenario: You have a bicycle manufacturing company and you think of slowing down your regular bicycle production to focus largely on monocycles. Will this be a market winner? Imagine one of your competitors has had the same idea. They ran a market research, which concluded that customers consider monocycles too dangerous. Thus, they won’t consider buying such vehicles. Now, consulting that already made research saves you time and money, and spares you a product failure.
Implementation. Doing an online market research based on already existing resources can take many shapes. The most basic one is to call good old friend Google by your side and do a search to see what it brings up about your topic. Anything from published studies, forum discussions, blog posts can help you if it’s relevant to your interest. Moreover, a possibly valuable source of market information can be found on official sites, such as census data from your Census Bureau, government statistics and results from official business related reports. Just look up these sources from your country – who knows what great data they will offer you.
Social media also has search functions across its various channels. Twitter Search, Facebook’s Graph Search and Google Plus’ search functions are just some of the places you can scan for gathering market data.
Each market research may be unique according to your scope. Hence, you will design the research plan with your specific objective in mind – whether it is to launch a new product, to open a new business location, to see what your customers think of your product or to improve an existing item.
Here’s an orientative list of questions that could help you create your marketing research guide:
– On a scale from 1 to 10, how pleased are you with our [insert your product here]?
– Which other alike products do you consume?
– On a scale from 1 to 10, how likely would you recommend our product to others?
– If you could improve something about our product, what would it be? Why?
– If we were to launch a new product feature, what would you look after?
– Would you be interesting in trying [insert your new product here]? – If no, then why not? (Rules can help you hide this second question in absence of the answer ‘no’).
– How often do you buy [insert your product name here]?
– What do you appreciate most about our product?
– Where do you buy or product from?
– If you could describe our product using a single word, what would this be?
– What other products would you be interested in?
We hope this helps you keep your market research budget within acceptable limits. Bottom line, 123ContactForm web forms and already existing market data are a valuable asset in this area. Drop us a line if you need help with your market research forms.