I own a small business – should I invest in market research?
Market research can be incredibly influential in building, developing, and improving your business or brand. Market research refers to the research process of collecting information about your target demographic and overall industry information to help you form important business decisions surrounding your brand.
Often confused with market analysis, which primarily investigates existing business practices by gathering impersonal data, market research is focused solely on customer interaction and feedback. By directly researching the demographic your business will target, you gain invaluable information to help you understand the likes and dislikes of your consumer.
We can become overly invested in facts, figures, and analytics, using these to influence and guide business decisions due to the fact numbers can’t lie. However, analytics may provide the ‘what’ answer, but market research reveals the ‘why’ answer. It’s great to see a product or project is doing well and analytics can offer an insight into how well they are doing, however they can’t provide an answer as to why they are performing well. This is where market research comes in.
What options do I have when it comes to market research?
There are many options to choose from with market research, with focus groups, surveys, questionnaires, and other available options, you can choose the best format for your line of questioning. You may be looking for qualitative feedback, which is essentially data retrieved from first-hand observations, such as focus groups, interviews etc. the data from this is normally non-numerical, providing a qualitative response, rather than quantitative. Qualitative research seeks to retrieve opinions, views, and impressions by asking open-ended questions that require a personal response. A typical qualitative question would be ‘what do you like about x?” as this provides the opportunity for the consumer to provide feedback of what and why they liked the product/project.
Quantitative market research is also a useful form of research; however, it is focused on retrieving numerical answers. Quantitative research is useful for overall conclusions, such as if you want to discover if consumers like or would use a product as they can simply answer yes or no. This form of research is often much quicker and is easy to analyse and conclude.
The clearest difference between quantitative and qualitative is that quantitative will provide motivations and perceptions behind the facts, such as would they use a product, would they recommend a product etc., whereas qualitative will provide an understanding as to why consumers make these choices.
Overall, both qualitative and quantitative research provides incredibly valuable information that can be used to influence your branding and business. By getting inside the mind of your consumer, you can use this information to improve existing products/projects and to predict successful future business ventures.