Small organisations in particular are often reluctant to channel some of their limited resources to Market Research or focus groups when we all know that market research is essential to any business. Only by offering products or services that are focussed and targeted to your customer’s needs will you be successful. Only by knowing how your present customers feel can you prevent client ‘drop-off’ and only by knowing how your employees feel can you maintain a productive workforce.
A business decision that is based on knowledge will reduce risk and pay dividends so it’s important that market research becomes an ongoing business process rather than an occasional exercise. By conducting market research throughout the life of a product or service your planning will be focussed and proactive rather than chaotic and reactive.
Even before you start a business, market research is essential to tell you if there will be a demand for your product or service. This will not only help you decide whether to go ahead with the business, but it will provide the information you need to work out if there will be the volume needed to make the business worthwhile. This is important information when drawing up a business plan for potential investors.
We are in an age where poor customer service can be instantly shared. By asking your customer the right questions you not only show that you care but you also take the guess work out of customer services. Market research will improve the way you communicate. Listening to your customers experiences you will be able to gauge how well you meet their expectations and be fully aware of the areas you’re getting right and those where you are failing.
Good market research will help you work out who your customers are, their average age, gender, income, occupation. If your customers are other businesses, the research will help you work out how big they are, who their customers are and who makes the purchasing decisions. This is not always the buyer so you need to be able to tailor your message to the right person.
Market research is an ongoing process, something everyone in the organisation is aware of whether in a general sense or product/service specific. Please don’t fail because ‘you didn’t know’.
David Hassell – DLH Marketing
David has worked in advertising and marketing services for 30 years both client and agency side. Having worked with local, national and muliti-national clients, he set up DLH Marketing to help small organisations, owner managed businesses and those organisations without in-house marketing.