No business survives without successful marketing. Put differently, businesses succeeds only by the level of demand for its products or services. This level is determined by market knowledge and connection with the buyers of the products or services. It is the function of a good market research to establish this connection, take advantage of it and convert it into sales.
Market research allows a business or a company to discover who their existing and potential customers are and what these consumers think about their product or service, with a view to meeting their needs and increasing their patronage.
Market research is a very important component of business strategy. It is a key factor in maintaining competitiveness. It provides important information to identify and analyze the market need, market size and competition.
Market research is indispensable if a business aims to be successful and sustainable. Without it, an entrepreneur can be likened to someone who plunges into a river without knowing its depth especially when he has not mastered the skill of swimming. At best, such an amateur swimmer will sink like a stone. If you do not want your business to sink into liquidation, it is pertinent that you carry out a scientific market research.
Products and services are different from one to the other, but the method used in carrying out the research should be universal.
As a general guide the under-listed points should be considered when you do a market research for your business.
Good Understanding Of The Situation, The Challenge
Some business analysts refer to this as problem stage. It is a stage where you have a challenge and you want to find a solution to it. The challenge could be establishment of your new business, opening a new branch, launching a new product. It could also be as negative as poor sales, low awareness or visibility of your business, bad reputation or bastardized image.
As you identify these problems, endeavor to identify the opportunities associated with them. For example while your product may not be getting the patronage needed, your attempt at solving the problem should not just be limited to gaining attention or mere patronage, you should go beyond that and consider taking over the market from competitions. Be positive even in the negative circumstance.
Set Your Goals For The Research
Do not make an attempt towards solving the problem without setting goals and determining marks to show that you have solved the problems. An effective way to get this done is by breaking down the goals into different transiting phases and setting a timetable for each phase. When you are able to meet your deadline, you will eventually be able to meet the ultimate goals.
Even when a phase seems to take longer than schedule because of matters you did not foresee, do not allow it to constitute a clog in the wheel of your overall plan. If necessary move on to the next phase. If this is impossible, take time to scrutinize what the problem is and endeavor to find a solution. At this juncture, it is important that you delegate, seek help, advise etc. When an individual is saddled with too much responsibilities, it may not be possible for him to meet up with the set deadline. Multitasking may slow you down, carry others along.
Determine Your Research Methodology
The method you adopt will go a long way to reflect the true picture of things. Most market researchers use the primary data gathering method so that they can record an updated nature and dynamics of the market. You may use questionnaires that give the respondents multi-choice even while he is restricted to the subject of research.
Other market researchers chose to gather data, not directly from the market but from existing data. If you chose to base your market on the research that others have done, it will save you a lot of money and time, but it may not be reflective enough. This is so because the product the research was carried out for is not the same as what you have now and the research might have become outdated. The two circumstances may be different.
Go For The Data
After determining the methodology that you plan to adopt, it may be in your interest to employ the services of field personnel who will go out to gather data by surveying the opinion of people. It is the responsibility of this field officers to ensure objectivity. Many respondents reluctantly fill the questionnaires. When they chose to fill it, they do so hurriedly, absentmindedly. True, no research is void of bias, efforts should be made to ensure objectivity as much as possible. Failure to do so may affect you product and services negatively when you are ready to commence with operations because your conclusions would be faulty.
Therefore proper training or briefing must be administered on the field personnel with strict supervision. Whatever you can do for yourself please do.
Analyze The Data
This is the stage where you are expected to inspect, purify and transform the data that have been gathered converting them to useful information. Don’t be surprised that you will come across data that may appear irrelevant to your research. It is especially challenging when you see results that do not reflect the goals in mind. This does not mean that your methodology is bad, neither does it mean that your field agents are not performing enough.
At this stage, make it your responsibility to check for consistency in the data. That is what research is about anyway. When this has been done, you quantify and group your work together to give you the result. Yes your research is quantitative, but it should not stop you from being open minded. Read in between the lines and discover why some people respond the way they did.
Implement Your Findings
After conclusions have been drawn from your findings, it is time you implement. This is often done when the research carried reflects the goals of the business in mind. If the result of the research does not proffer solution to the problems that have been identified earlier, there may be need to carry out another research adjusting the methodology and other factors.