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What you need to know about market research

December 29, 2017

Did you do your market research before you launched your business? Yes? No? If you didn’t, you may be losing some important customer generated data that will help you tailor the goods and services you offer appropriately for your target audience. It’s not too late to carry out your market research. Here are the key things you need to do.

1. Identify your target market. Your information will only be as good as your market research sample. Be careful when selecting your market research sample group to question. To get useful market research data, your sample group needs to be relevant to and representative of your target population.

2. Design your survey or market research questionnaire carefully. Make sure that it’s focused specifically on the information you need to know, and that you haven’t included any questions that may offend anyone. Many people are put off by questions that ask them how much money they earn, for instance. If you offend or confuse them, they won’t bother to fill out your market research survey.

The key information that you should aim to acquire is:

  • Who they are?
  • Where they live?
  • What lifestyle do they lead?
  • What car they drive?
  • Their perceived need for your product or service?
  • Would they buy it from you?
  • How much would they be willing to pay?
  • Have they heard of your company or product? If so, from where?
  • Where would they go to source this type of product or service?
  • Have they sourced it elsewhere? If so, where and why?
  • What magazines and newspapers they read?
  • What TV channels or shows do they watch?
  • What radio stations do they listen to and at what times?
  • What websites they visit?
  • How do they like to be communicated with? Email, phone and/or social media?

3. Keep it short. If possible, your market research survey or questionnaire should all fit on one page. Long forms
intimidate some people; others see multiple page forms as just too much of an imposition on their time.

4. Always provide some opportunity for detailed answers. Not everyone will take advantage of it, but some will, and sometimes these written-in comments are the most valuable of all.

5. Work out your market research recording techniques first. Telephone market research surveys are popular, but how are you going to record what the respondents say? If you’re orally interviewing someone, will you record them or take notes? The purpose of market research is to gather and analyse the data, so you’ve got to have a system of recording the data worked out in advance. Websites like are very effective tools, as they record and provide reports on the data collected. And, if you’re surveying fewer than 100 people, it’s free.

6. Invest in the process. The amount of market research you do is limited only by your time (if you’re doing it yourself) or your budget (if you hire someone else to do it). But market research is necessary at all stages of a business’s life, if you want continued success. Only market research can truly keep us in touch with what’s most
important – your customers, and their needs and desires.

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