It can be hard and confusing to figure out how to do market research for the first time. There are a lot of different categories and methods to choose from, as well as an endless list of tasks and preparations for organizing. Even if it seems like a lot of work, research is essential to every business, whether big or small. Here are five steps in doing simple market research: 1) Identify the problem, 2) Make a marketing research plan (find out your preferred method), 3) Gather Data, 4) Analyze your data, and 5) Present and interpret results.
Marketing research is defined as the process of predicting customer and market behaviour. It helps identify the satisfaction level of your customers, the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and other similar information that can be used to develop strategies for future success. A market research plan will help you develop relevant questions which can be used to solve a problem or identify a need or a want.
To help you conduct your first simple market research, here are 5 steps:
1. Identify the problem.
The first step in conducting simple market research is to identify the problem. It's not enough to assume that people want something or need something. You have to do your homework and find out what they want and need.
It is also essential to determine whether other factors affect the problem, such as cost, time, or cultural influences. Other things to consider include who will be using this product or service, how you intend to market your product or service, and who you plan on selling your product or service to. All of these factors play a crucial role in determining the success of your new business.
You can incorporate this information into creating a survey (a few questions on paper or online), which is a great way to gather initial feedback from those around you whom you trust to give an honest opinion. When developing your survey, keep it short and sweet— 10 questions or less will already give you an idea of what people think about your product.
2. Make a marketing research plan.
The next step in conducting simple market research is to make a marketing research plan. Should it be qualitative or quantitative? Remember, the marketing research plan should be based on the project's objectives and goals, the market definition, target audiences, product characteristics and benefits, competitors, budget constraints and time limitations.
The marketing research plan should also include information on what data-gathering methods are the most ideal and which data sources are needed for the study. The marketing research plan also needs to clearly state what analysis techniques will be used to analyze the gathered data. As easy as it sounds, making a laid-out plan needs work. Nevertheless, it is doable, and it gets easier over time.
3. Gather your data.
After you have written down a well-thought marketing research plan, gathering data from your selected participants is time. It is important to note that the data quality depends on the participants' quality, which means you should always ensure you are getting high-quality data from trusted sources.
There are different kinds of survey methods that can be done, but the simplest one is by using paper-based surveys or online survey platforms. Paper-based surveys are great because it's easier and faster for people to fill up the questionnaire (because they have nothing else to do). On the other hand, online survey platforms gather information from people worldwide, so it's much more convenient than paper-based surveys.
Another way of collecting data is conducting interviews or organizing focus group discussions among your participants. You can ask them structured or open-ended questions to help you understand what they want and need in a product or service similar to yours.
4. Analyze your data.
When you have gathered your target data, your next step is to analyze them. When you conduct interviews and gather qualitative data, it is best to do an in-depth analysis by finding the common themes. You want to look for the most prominent ideas that all of your respondents shared. You also might want to look at the differences, such as how each customer thinks differently of your product or service. Finally, organize the results of your analysis and make inferences between groups or categories or how the themes relate to one another.
However, it is best to use statistics when you gather quantitative data using scales and objective-items questionnaires. Statistics is the branch of mathematics concerned with collecting, analyzing, interpreting and presenting numerical data. Statistics give accurate results that can be interpreted by providing inferential statements about the characteristics of the population from which the sample was drawn.
When analyzing your data, it's essential to remain objective with your information. Even if you think something is true, make sure that the data support it before coming up with conclusions. Ask other people to analyze your data while avoiding any biases they might have had during the analysis.
5. Interpret your results.
The last step is making sense of your analyzed results. Now that you have all your data, you need to look at it critically. Look for trends, patterns, and other things that stand out to you. Do you find yourself agreeing with some of the survey responses? Is there anything in particular that stands out to you? Are there any apparent outliers in your data? There are many questions and answers in simple market research that might not immediately appear at first glance.
You'll also want to ensure that every data piece is validated by another source or method. Can you get corroboration from other people involved in the research process? If so, how do their findings match up with yours? Are there any discrepancies between your findings and theirs? You have to check for consistency in your results.
You also need to check for possible errors in your data-gathering methods, so try to find out where these errors may have occurred, correct them, and re-analyze your data until you arrive at the most accurate results.
Finally, look at your findings and think about their implications- how can you use them to improve your product, or how can you use it to move your business plan forward? While it may seem tedious, this is one of the most crucial parts of your research, as it will determine the best outcome for your business.
There is no shortcut to learning how to do market research properly. You should not rush it either since it will help you realize whether your business needs to be improved, whether there's still a place for it in the market and whether the cost of running a business is worth it. It'll also give you valuable insights about what you need to improve and how you can effectively do that.
And if you feel that any of these steps are too complicated for you, try simplifying it. Remember that even if your research is not 100% accurate, it'll still give you a good overview of the whole thing and allow you to make an informed decision based on the limited data you have gathered.
While thinking of how to kick-start your simple market research, you might want to try answering the following questions:
- What is my business problem?
- What is the best way to systematically find solutions to my business problem?
- Who is my target audience, and what are their characteristics?
- How should I gather rich, meaningful data from my target population?
- What is the best way to assess my data to generate results that will significantly help me solve my business problem?