Prospective entrepreneurs often forget an essential component of their future businesses. They neglect checking if their ideas are feasible to attract a large and sustainable market by conducting marketing research, often leading to crash of promising businesses.
Conducting research allows companies to create products that meet consumer needs effectively, increasing the likelihood of successful product launches and increased profitability.
Market research helps companies to identify consumer needs, create products and services that meet them, and improve existing offerings. Additionally, market research allows those tasked with marketing to make wise product packaging and promotional decisions, and to develop effective marketing messages. It also allows businesses to identify their market share, as well as that of their competitors.
Importance of market research
Market research is a very important part of a business activity, starting from the time when the company has not even come into existence. Market research is, therefore, imperative for the success of a new business.
According to business experts, researching your market prior to entering is a sound decision for any business owner. Unfortunately, it’s often overlooked and ignored. The results can be loss of revenue and a slow start.
All small businesses need to be aware of their market niche and the strengths they bring to the market. Research helps an entrepreneur to be conversant with the operations of the intended business.
Creating a market plan
The Internet is a veritable tool for conducting marketing research. There are sites that provide detailed information on how to conduct researches and even offer research software. Books and business journals are also worth checking out. Local business groups and organisations also offer seminars, talks, and workshops for future entrepreneurs. Always remember that there is no easy way to success, and that effort is necessary to see something to fruition.
Firms that are successful in marketing invariably start with a marketing plan. While large companies have plans with hundreds of pages, small companies can get by with a half-dozen sheets. Experts say it’s better to put your marketing plan in a three-ring binder. Refer to it at least quarterly, but better yet monthly. Leave a tab for putting in monthly reports on sales and manufacturing; this will allow you to track performance as you follow the plan.
The plan should cover one year. For small companies, this is often the best way to think about marketing. Things change, people leave, markets evolve, customers come and go. Later on we suggest creating a section of your plan that addresses the medium-term future–two to four years down the road. But the bulk of your plan should focus on the coming year.
You can’t do a marketing plan without getting many people involved. No matter what your size, get feedback from all parts of your company- finance, manufacturing, personnel, supply and so on — in addition to marketing itself. This is especially important because it will take all aspects of your company to make your marketing plan work. Your key people can provide realistic input on what’s achievable and how your goals can be reached, and they can share any insights they have on any potential, as-yet-unrealised marketing opportunities, adding another dimension to your plan. If you’re essentially a one-person management operation, you’ll have to wear all your hats at one time — but at least the meetings will be short.
Types of market research
The two major types of marketing research are quantitative research and qualitative research, according to experts.
Quantitative research is designed to discover statistical data, such as how many people in certain demographic groups are likely to purchase a particular product or what percentage of current customers are first-time clients. Multiple choice questionnaires and analysis of sales data are examples of quantitative research techniques.
Qualitative research, on the other hand, is designed to provide information about why consumers view products, services, or marketing messages the way they do. Open-ended survey questions and focus groups are examples of qualitative market research.
Review your market research
Ideally, after writing marketing plans for a few years, you can sit back and review a series of them, year after year, and check the progress. Of course, sometimes this is hard to make time for but it can provide an unparalleled objective view of what you’ve been doing with your business life over a number of years.