Step 1 in Market Research: Target Audience - who do I talk to?
As the New Year 2022 has started, we have probably thought about what we would like to achieve personally, perhaps it is to make more meaningful connections with people, be kinder to ourselves and others, look and feel better?
For many businesses these goals are equally valid, but, perhaps, slightly harder to achieve? You are launching a new product. You are thinking of expanding into new geographies. There are new innovations in your market. You want to invest in a business. Your business is performing below par. Legislation is on the way that may affect your market. And so on. There are many reasons to find out what people think, what people want, what people like and what people do. Sales figures and customer complaints are not the only way you can tell how you are doing.
You might be surprised at how little some companies know about the universe that swirls around them. A well-executed market study can make them experts. And you shouldn't wait until an 'event', such as those described above before finding out about you and your competition.
It is worth checking the oil in your £15,000 car even if you've never had a problem, and people do. It seems strange that they may not do this for the £250m business they run.
Here is a quick guide to putting a typical market study together. It is more-or-less in the order we'd recommend, but a bit of re-ordering will sometimes suit you better. And you don't have to do everything.
Step 1. Establish who you want to talk to
Do you want to speak to anyone who has ever bought the sort of thing you sell, or do you only need to talk to recent purchasers? Bear in mind that most consumers will have forgotten the details of a supermarket shop they did a month ago, but will recall every detail of a cruise holiday from 3 years back.
Is frequency important to you? In other words, are you happy to hear from people who buy your type of product all the time, or are occasional purchasers likely to be helpful? Is it only the buyers in your market you care about, or would it help to hear from 'considerers' - maybe even some rejecters - too?
Bear in mind that the more restrictive the criteria you impose, the pricier the research will be. Incidence (the frequency at which the respondent occurs within the general population) is a key factor in price. There is a huge difference between someone who buys coffee and someone who buys coffee beans and grinds them at home. The wider you can cast your net - without losing insight - the better in terms of cost.
Step 2. in the next post!