by: Julie Marie Bedas
Market research helps you gather information about your target market, your competition, and the steps necessary to develop a successful product. It can be done cheaply and with minimal research expertise.
It is not easy to please everyone. You should therefore focus on appealing to a specific demographic. This is necessary for defining the scope of your development and generating sales down the road. So how exactly do you identify target consumers and what they want?
After identifying a potential target demographic, you should endeavor to better understand them. You can broaden your knowledge of their behavior, preferences, and accessibility by browsing through existing research and statistical databases.
Social media also contains a rich cache of demographic data. Use social media analytics (https://www.techopedia.com/definition/13853/social-media-analytics-sma) to understand consumer awareness and perception of your product or service. Some sites to help you with this are Brandwatch, Topsy and Oracle’s Social Marketing Cloud among others.
The Internet has made it very easy to conduct a survey. Free online software like Survey Monkey, Typeform and Google Forms allow you to embed survey into your website and solicit participants through email, social media, and other mediums.
You can gather accounts through registrations made on your site. If you have no information on this, you should use the social media analytics tools mentioned above and send surveys to people who mentioned keywords on your product idea or your brand in particular.
Another big plus for doing your surveys online is that the platforms that offer the survey service usually offers free analytics of the gathered data as well.
Make sure to include demographic questions in order to get a clearer picture of you potential market.
– What do you think should be the price of this product or service?
– How can existing versions of this product/service be improved?
– What factors do you consider in making purchase decisions with this product or service?
Many products are offered by multiple companies who compete for market share. It is important to research and understand your competition in order to gain an upper hand.
You can identify potential competitors by Googling keywords related to your product or service. Companies that appear higher in the results tend to be market leaders and represent your stiffest competition. A relative lack of company-related results, however, could signal minimal competition and a potential opening. Social media has likewise transformed into a potent outlet for marketing and brand development and can be used for opposition research.
Once you identify your competition, take care to understand as much as possible about their business. Understand their products and services, their marketing techniques and how you can improve on what they currently offer. Hunt down any negative customer reviews for further ideas on how to exploit potential market openings .
Use the phone not to conduct a public survey, but to actually call your competitors! This is a clever intelligence collection technique proposed by Jordan Harbringer, cofounder of the The Art of Charm, a team lifestyle and dating coaches. Call them, pretend that you are a customer and ask them any questions without being obvious about your intentions. They will provide you with all the information you’ll need!
Finally, you can identify further areas for product improvement by directly asking potential consumers. You can ask them personally or you can do it through chat, e-mails, or whatever technique you prefer. Just make sure that you won’t reveal that it is your business idea to avoid biasing their thought process. This way you will be able to gather honest feedback.