Running a business is tough. One thing you absolutely need to stay on top of - among the 10,928 other jobs to do - is making sure you're targeting the right market. If you're not making money, you're not doing business. And since such a huge amount of businesses fail within their first year, and even less make it to their fifth year, you need to know where you fit in the market.
Market research can be time intensive and expensive. If you're just starting out, chances are you're low on resources and need to keep the strings tight where possible. But market research doesn't have to be lengthy and pricey; there's a range of ways you can optimize your research process to get the best results without wasting time, energy and money.
Read on to nail your market research process.
Chances are that you're well acquainted with the ins and outs of market research, so here's a quick-and-dirty definition for you: market research is a way of getting to the bottom of what your customers need and want from you. It's vital to your business, giving you insight into how you should position your brand and products, and where you fit into a crowded market. Competition is stiff out there, and with so many businesses failing in their first five years you need every advantage you can get.
There are so many market research options out there for you that it can be overwhelming when you're trying to optimize your market research process and maximize productivity. Put simply, market research takes time, money and resources, so streamlining your process is vital to getting the most from your investment. Thankfully, there's a range of tricks and tools you can add to your workflow to get your research wrapped up in no time.
At its core, market research is data collection and analysis. You may think it's essential that you get to this data firsthand, but a great starting point is to look at secondary data. Secondary data has been pulled together by other companies and is often readily available - and free - on the Internet. This can help you get at least a rough idea of your market, and what other companies and potential competitors have been researching. Starting off with secondary data is a great way to check off some of your market research goals without spending a penny.
Your market research plan will be your secret weapon in optimizing your research, so be sure to plan carefully and thoroughly. A well-reasoned plan will keep you on track throughout your market research, ensuring you're always aligned with your goals. Defining those goals is integral to your market research process - they should be central to every decision you make. Use your goals to form the basis of your research project; having this central focus will keep you from straying from your ultimate aim.
Harnessing the right tools for your market research is a great way to optimize your process. Today your business has access to a whole world of intelligent platforms and tools to streamline your insight into the market and make sure you're reaching the right people. If you're holding focus groups or interviews, for example, a platform like Trint for transcription is essential to avoid you spending hours writing up your findings. Want to conduct some social listening to see what your market is talking about online? Check out Hootsuite.
While your market research should be thorough and diverse, having a few avenues that you put maximum effort into, and track effectively, will give you the best results. Keeping your market research process as lean as possible saves on time and resources, and gets you to those well planned goals in the fastest time possible. Technology is a market researcher's best friend, so build a bank of useful tools and stick to your planned activities to be market literate in no time at all.
Automated transcription is your market research secret weapon. Automated transcription provides you with fully searchable text write-ups of your key interviews to help you get to the bottom of what makes your market tick, without having to listen to hours of unstructured audio. Getting started couldn't be simpler: take advantage of your free trial today.