Did you know that almost 95 percent of new product launches fail? This is due in large part to lack of proper market research. But conducting market research alone is not a guarantee for success. The research must be relevant and realistic. The research should be designed to uncover as much information as possible about the preferences and behaviors of your target market.
Remember when Coca Cola’s introduction of new Coke failed miserably? Coca Cola did a fair share of market research. But they misjudged their customers. Studies suggest several reasons for the huge blunder: Some experts say that one of the company’s biggest mistakes was failing to understand that many U.S. consumers prefer continuity and tradition over novelty.
Coca Cola is a classic example that teaches us how imperative it is to understand as much as we can about our audience.
Knowing the gender and age range is important, but it is merely a beginning. If you’re jockeying for a top position in the market place, proper market research is critical.
This article will walk you through five simple, affordable market research techniques. We’ll teach you how to learn what makes your customers tick.
We’ll show you how to:
- Discover preferences and dislikes of your target market.
- Gain insight into how you can better meet their needs.
- Develop customized marketing strategies and messaging.
Five effective, affordable market research techniques:
- Integrate yourself into their community.
- Use social media to join groups where your customers and prospects socialize. Facebook and LinkedIn are good places to start.
- Go to www.linkedin.com, and look for the search function in the upper right hand corner. You can search for people or groups.
- Change the drop down menu to groups, and enter your industry. You can join online groups for small business owners in your industry, or entrepreneurs who want to connect with like-minded people.
Enter “small business owners” in the search box, and the groups will be displayed. Click on the links and read excerpts about them.
Choose the groups you want to join. Send an email to the group owner, and in less than 24 hours you will be a member, and be able to join in the conversation.
- Search for online reviews about your product, industry and competitors. Start with sites like www.glassdoor.com and www.consumersearch.com.
- Look for hot buttons, and consumer complaints.
- Read blogs and forums, and join online discussions.
- Conduct focus groups
- Create open-ended questions, and hypothetical scenarios.
- Keep the focus group to 60 minutes or less.
- Offer an incentive. Offer free product, coupons, or food and beverage.
- Recruit people you don’t know. Use a recruiting firm or recruit respondents by placing flyers and postcards in like-minded establishments.
- Conduct virtual user testing
- There are a number of inexpensive web-based user testing services available. For example, www.insideheads.com or www.usertesting.com.
- Use this type of service to test your website, messaging, pricing, and more.
- Online surveys are simple, anonymous, and provide great insights.
- Use a tool like www.kwiksurveys.com or www.surveymonkey.com.
- Keep them brief.
- Consider offering an incentive, (like a coupon) in exchange for participation.
- If you own a brick and mortar store, observe your customers. Discreetly monitor their behaviors and comments.
- If your business is e-commerce, ask a few friends to click on your site and go through the buying process.
- Ask for honest feedback about the experience. Ask for suggestions to improve the site.
Courtney’s Action Assignment
- Choose one technique listed above and do it within thirty days.
- Try another technique within sixty days.
- With ninety days, you should have experimented with any three of these methods.
- Implement your favorite strategy into your marketing strategy, and plan to conduct market research at least two to three times each year.
Every business owner should implement ongoing market research into the marketing plan. Whether you are a new start up or a seasoned business owner, proper research is a must. It will help you increase sales, identify new business opportunities, set realistic goals, and prepare for future growth.
If you have a favorite market research technique, or comments about this article, please email email@example.com