Market research is all about understanding the positioning of your products and services to ensure they best meet the needs of your target customer. Business owners typically undertake considerable market research before launching their company, but is this enough? In this article, we share why ongoing market research is necessary.
When Did Your Company Last Undertake Market Research?
Most businesses undertake market research in the early days. Pre-start-up is pretty much essential. The insight informs decisions, such as what to sell, at what price, where and to whom. However, once the company is up and running, the focus often turns to internal matters. Caught up in day-to-day operations, there generally isn’t time to step back and look at the bigger picture.
Let’s look at three reasons why ongoing market research needs to be higher on your priority list:
- Your customers know the market
- Industry disruptors are out there
- You don’t want to miss fresh opportunities
1. Your Customers Know the Market
Your customers will typically gather information from a variety of sources before making their purchasing decisions. As such, they are comparing you to your competitors, reading reviews, checking prices and discovering the latest products. You may not have undertaken market research for a while, but your customers are doing it right now.
It’s vital to know what your customers are seeing and how they view your brand, especially in comparison to your competitors. When they are searching for the goods and services you offer, do your web pages feature in search engine listings and what alternative web pages are shown? Is your message still relevant to their needs?
When they check customer reviews, what opinions are they seeing? We don’t just mean the testimonials on your website; what about those on independent sites and directory listings which are often seen as more reliable? Your products may feature on review sites or unboxing videos, even if you’re not aware of them.
Do your products and services fit in with the latest industry trend or priority? If so, are you actively promoting the features that customers are seeking out? To give a few examples, these might be sustainability, made in Britain, energy efficient or locally sourced. What other factors might be swaying your customers purchasing decisions?
It’s time to become as informed as your customers!
2. Industry Disruptors Are Out There
When you launched your company, you will have identified the competition. However, the businesses that you perceive as your greatest competitor may not be the biggest risk. Innovators are changing how, what and where customers’ needs are met.
A decade ago, B&B owners would focus their marketing efforts that put them ahead of other local B&Bs. Airbnb wouldn’t have been on their radar, however, it successfully met the need for affordable accommodation.
Being aware of disruptors obviously doesn’t stop them from entering the market, but it does mean that you can focus your marketing efforts on what differentiates your offering. In the case of B&Bs, maybe a vegan breakfast, a games room or local attractions.
3. You Don’t Want to Miss Fresh Opportunities
If you aren’t up to speed with the market, undoubtedly you will miss out on opportunities to attract and retain customers. Where are the gaps that you could fill? Is it time to diversify or launch that innovative new product? Would repackaging an existing product or service bolster its appeal? These decisions all pivot on predicting your target customers’ needs and delivering what they are looking for.
This ties into whether your products and services still offer good value. In the current economic climate, are lower-priced basic packages generating greater interest or are your customers looking for the next level up?
Equally, without current insight, you may be spending out on promotional campaigns that miss the mark. Your marketing strategy will only deliver a return on investment if it pitches the right message to the right people, at the right time and in the right place. Consider whether this has changed.
Outsourcing Market Research
Have we convinced you that, if your customers know your market, disruptors threaten the status quo and fresh opportunities are waiting to be found, there is a case for ongoing market research?
The challenge is finding the time to undertake market research, having the internal expertise and viewing your business from an objective perspective. For these reasons, you may prefer to outsource market research to a specialist team.
Alison Page Marketing has the expertise to use available tools, techniques and data to gather insight into your customers, competition and industry. Our marketing support services are tailored to your requirements and budget, so to discuss how we can assist you please contact us.