Marketing research is information gathered about your target audience to test whether your product or service would perform well among potential prospects. By understanding your target audience and their preferences, you can create a product or service that appeals to them. Conducting marketing research also allows you to determine who your competitors are, current trends, and any challenges that might present themselves. To have a successful product or service, conducting your own marketing research is the key to success. Don’t know where to start? Here are six steps to help you develop marketing research.
The first step in conducting marketing research is defining your objective or end goal. There is often an issue that needs to be resolved, but first you must understand the question that your research is trying to solve. Having a clear objective is important in order to keep your research focused and effective. This is also when you want to identify your target audience, or the people you are gearing your product or service towards.
Once you have developed a clear objective, it is time to determine which design and methods you will apply to your research. There are many types of marketing research methods but the four most popular include surveys, interviews focus groups, observation-based research, and field tests.
- Surveys: gathering information from a large group of people. The more participation that goes into the survey, the more accurate the data will be.
- Interviews: Natural conversation that allows you to get more insight and details into the person you are interviewing.
- Focus Groups: A moderator asks a group of participants questions about a specific product, service, or topic. It is important to conduct more than one focus group to receive accurate results.
- Observation: Watching how people interact with your product or service and observing the data.
- Field Test: This allows the product or service in question to be seen in its natural environment. Field tests can be tricky due to the higher possibility pf unforeseen circumstances because it isn’t in a controlled environment, but it allows the audience to see exactly how said product or service performs.
Now it is time to come up with your questions and start executing your plan. Whether you have decided to take the survey route or do a focus group, you need to have your method organized and ready to start gathering information. A tip for this step is to test your survey instrument on a small group of people and set up that data in an excel sheet to catch any issues with the structure of your data. This tip allows you to catch any potential problems early on in your experiment and prevent any issues down the road.
Now that the hardest part is done, step four is to collect the data from your questionnaire (whichever method you have picked) and record it on an Excel Spreadsheet. Using excel is not essential to research, as you can use another form of organizing your data but using Excel will guarantee that your information is solid and organized and is the most used method of tracking while conducting marketing research.
Step five is the time to analyze your findings and make sure that your data is structured properly. This is the time when you want to segment your final results into organized groups, whichever way it makes the most sense according to your findings and look for major trends within those data groups. Now that you have your supporting data, it is time to put together the point you are trying to get across to the audience.
The final step is to communicate your most important findings but there are a few things you need to do first. Having an organized and compelling report including your data that helps prove the original business problem that needed to be solved, is key to having compelling marketing research. Once you have that, you can present your findings not only through charts and graphs but also through insights and recommendations. It is important to elaborate on the charts you are presenting to provide a clear explanation of your findings.
Marketing research tells you many things about your business such as how you are connecting with your customers as well as what they are searching for, how far your business is reaching, and anything that is currently trending throughout the market. If we didn’t use marketing research in our business strategies today, we would not be able to define and solve problems or opportunities that could possibly affect our businesses.
Taylor Stump, Marketing Intern
Conway Innovation Center
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