Time for Market Research
November 19, 2020
Too often a recurring philosophy is that market research is (1) only beneficial for large companies or (2) too expensive for small businesses and SMEs. Certainly, market research is beneficial to large companies, but it is equally important and beneficial to small businesses and SMEs, as well.
The beauty of market research is what develops after its completion.
For a new business, market research can answer the following questions:
- Is there a market for the products or services sold?
- What is the potential size of the target market?
- Is the target market growing or shrinking?
- What is the competition?
For an established business, market research can answer the following:
- What additional products or services might be offered?
- What is the reputation of the business in the marketplace?
- Is the business meeting the demands of its customers?
While many small businesses and SMEs feel as though market research is too expensive for their businesses, the truth is that small businesses and SMEs cannot afford NOT to conduct some type of market research. There are numerous market research options that incur no cost or very little cost such as:
- Talking to existing customers to determine their needs and wants
- Obtaining suggestions from customers and prospects
- Testing the market with small amounts of advertising to see what works and what doesn’t
- Sending surveys to current customers
- Having in-business, on-premises questionnaires, comment cards, or digital response tablets
- Reviewing monthly sales and activity trends
- Determining the extent of the target market and analyzing customer base
- Researching the competition
- Reviewing pricing relative to the competition and product/service value
The above ideas are just some no-cost or low-cost market research options. Practically, anything involving the business, its customers, competition, products, and services can fall into the category of beneficial market research.
Market research allows a business to better understand current and prospective customers by learning what they want and improving existing products and services. With this knowledge, businesses then have the ability to retain their existing customers and attract prospects into becoming existing customers.
With the many no-cost and low-cost market research options available to any small business or SME, it is an important input that produces future positive results.
Know the Customer
Businesses must know their specific customers and be able to market exactly to them. There is an old saying in business, “If you market to everyone, you talk to no one.” Prudent marketing decisions lead to increased customers and higher revenue; however, these prudent marketing decisions are the result of knowing and understanding the target market through various types of market research.
For market research to be beneficial, it does not have to be elaborate, complex, or time-consuming. Whether using some of the options mentioned above or utilizing other forms of market research, what is important is just to conduct some type of market research even if only periodically. Regardless of the type or size of a business, the business must know and understand its customers. This can only be effectively accomplished through market research. If market research is not an agenda item for your business, the current economic situation necessitates that you make it a priority item now.