Conducting market research is absolutely crucial to your business, not only should you rigorously research your industry and your product before starting out, you should also continuously test the market. People who are knowledgeable in business such as George Bardwil are fully aware of the benefits of market research and how best to go about. If you are unsure about what is happening in the marketplace then you cannot expect to be able to forge new paths or keep up with trends which will lose you business and ultimately money. Here are some methods you can employ to make strong market research.
Information is power and you will do well to arm yourself to the teeth with it, customer trends, product launches, failed products, successful products, similar business histories and target customers should be the type of stuff you are looking at. There is an incredible amount of information on the internet alone to help you better understand your market and you should be reading through data and analysis until you feel fully prepared. Here are some places where you find information.
- Government Sources
- Trade Associations
- Trade Publications
- Academic Institutions
- Third Party Sources (e.g. Analysts)
Surveys serve as a great precursor to product testing, they find out how the customer ticks and what kind of products or services they are interested in. Smartly worded surveys should dig a little into the character of the customer, nothing too personal, but enough to be able to put them into an age, sex or lifestyle bracket. Once you can put prospective customers into sections, you can gain a clearer idea for who you will target with your product.
Whether it is a made product or a service that you will be providing, field testing is absolutely imperative. Through the process you can rigorously test your product and discover any flaws which may exist and any improvements that you can make. You should cast your net wide when product testing, give your product to a large range of individuals from different walks of life to get a full picture of how your product shapes up. The most important thing in the testing process is that you listen to all feedback, good and bad, if you ignore problems in the beginning then you will cause a bigger problem in the future when more and more people use the product.
Focus groups play an important role in market research, asking people their perceptions and opinions of a product within a group setting will help you better understand your customers and the opinion of your product. People often speak more freely about things when they are chatting with others as opposed to a survey or a one-on-one interview, in this regard a focus group will gather far more information than other sources. Ensure that you select from a wide variety of people when considering who to invite for your focus group and stay on hand to make notes about what is said.