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7 steps of market research before launching a new product

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❶Data from market research projects that reveals that certain types of people react preferentially to your business can be used to focus your business's limited resources on these specific people, maximizing competitiveness and profitability. Mazda revs-up the MX

Knowledge is power: How to do market research to make a business idea a winner

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Create a backup plan in case the information is not what you expected. Define what you want to figure out. Use government sources of industry data. With the advent of the information age, it's become easier than ever for business people to access enormous quantities of data. However, ensuring that the data being accessed is accurate is another story entirely. To be able to draw conclusion from your market research that reflect the actual state of the market, it's crucially important to start with reputable data.

One safe bet for accurate market data is the government. Generally speaking, market data provided by the government is usually accurate, well-reviewed, and available for cheap or free, which makes it a great choice for businesses that are just starting out. As an example of the type of government data you might want to access during your market research, the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers detailed monthly reports regarding non-farm employment in addition to quarterly and yearly reports.

Use data from trade associations. Trade associations are organizations formed from groups of businesses with similar activities and interests for collaborative purposes.

In addition to engaging in activities like lobbying, community outreach, and advertising, trade associations also often participate in market research. The data from this research is used to increase competitiveness and boost profits for the industry. Some of this data may be freely available, while some may be only available to members. The Columbus Chamber of Commerce is an example of a local-level trade association that offers market research data. Yearly reports detailing market growth and trends in the Columbus, Ohio marketplace are available to anyone with an internet connection.

Use data from trade publications. Many industries have one or more magazines, journals, or publications dedicated to keeping members of the industry up-to-date on news, market trends, public policy goals, and much more. Many of these publications conduct and publish their own market research for the benefit of the members of the industry. Raw market research data may be available to non-industry members to varying degrees.

However, nearly all major trade publications will, at the very least, offer some selection of articles online that offer strategy tips or analyze market trends. These articles often incorporate market research. For example, ABA Banking Journal offers a wide selection of articles online for free, including articles discussing marketing trends, leadership strategy, and more. The Journal also offers links to industry resources which can incorporate market research data.

Use data from academic institutions. Because the marketplace is so important to global society, it is naturally the subject of much study and academic research. Many colleges, universities, and other academic institutions especially business schools regularly publish the results of research that is either based entirely off of market research or incorporates it in someway. This research is available in academic publications or from the university directly.

However, it's worth noting that much academic research is behind a paywall — that is, accessing it requires paying a fee, subscribing to a specific publication, etc.

As an example, Wharton University of Pennsylvania offers free access to a variety of market research resources, including academic papers and periodic market reviews. Use data from third-party sources. Since a good understanding of the marketplace can make or break a business, an industry of third-party analysts, firms, and services have arisen specifically to help businesses and entrepreneurs with the complex task of market research. These types of agencies offer their research skills to businesses and individuals who need definitive, specifically-tailored research reports.

However, because these types of agencies are for-profit, accessing the data you need will usually cost a fee. Leverage the power of market research services. Note that, due to the complexity of much market research, some third-party agencies will help business people find and source information which can not be obtained elsewhere or is customized reporting.

As a general rule,there are many market research service however finding unbiased and trustworthy information is good investment for your business. As an example, the aptly named MarketResearch. The price per report can vary, but good insight can be valuable. The site also offers the ability to consult with expert analysts and to pay only for specific needed pieces of long, detailed reports.

The usefulness of some of these purchases is invaluable. Part 2 Quiz What is the benefit of using data from the government over other other sources? It is more reliable. You can communicate with the data-collection team. It is less expensive. It is more up-to-date. Generally speaking, your business stands a good chance of being successful if it can satisfy a need in the market that is going unfulfilled — that is, you should aim to supply products or services that the market has a demand for.

Economic data from government, academic, and industry sources as detailed in the section above can help you identify the presence or absence of such needs. Essentially, you will want to identify markets where a clientele exists that has both the means and the desire to patronize your business. As a running example in this section, let's say that we hypothetically want to start a landscaping service.

If we investigate a wealth of market and data from local government sources, we might find that people in one affluent neighborhood of our town have, on average, a great deal of disposable income. We could also go as far as to use government water usage data to estimate the area with the greatest percentage of houses with lawns.

This information might lead us to open up shop in a rich, affluent area of town where people's houses have large yards, rather than in an area where people generally have neither large yards nor the money to pay for landscapers. Using market research, we've made an intelligent decision about where and where not to to do business. One of the most basic, time-tested ways of determining the attitudes of your business's customers is to simply ask them!

Surveys offer market researchers a chance to reach out to large samples of people to gain data that can be used to make broad strategy decisions. However, because surveys result in relatively impersonal data, it's important to ensure that your survey is designed in a way that allows data to be easily quantified so that you can derive meaningful trends from it.

For instance, a survey that simply asks customers to write about their experience with your business may not be the most effective choice, as this requires reading and analyzing each response individually to derive meaningful conclusions. A better idea might be to ask your customers to assign a number rating to multiple aspects of your business, like customer service, price, and so on. This makes it quicker and easier to identify your strengths and weaknesses in addition to allowing you to quantify and graph your data.

In our landscaping company example, we might try surveying our first 20 clients by asking each to fill out a small ratings card when they pay their bill.

On this card, we might ask our clients to give a rating from in the categories of quality, price, speed, and customer service. If we get lots of 4's and 5's in the first three categories but mostly 2's and 3's in the last, some sensitivity training for our employees might improve our customer satisfaction and increase our referral rate.

One way to determine how your customers might react to a proposed strategy is to invite them to participate in a focus group. In a focus group, small groups of customers gather at a neutral location, try a product or service, and discuss it with a representative.

Often, focus sessions are observed, recorded, and analyzed later. In our landscaping company example, if we want to consider upselling lawn care products as part of our service, we might invite loyal customers to participate in a focus group.

At this focus group, we'd have them receive the sales pitches for some of these lawn care products. Then, we'd ask them which ones, if any, they would be most likely to buy. We'd also ask them how the sales pitches made them feel — were they friendly or condescending? For the most intimate and qualitative market research data, one-on-one interviews with customers can be useful.

Individual interviews don't provide the broad, quantitative data sets that surveys do, but, on the other hand, they allow you to dive relatively "deep" in search of relevant information. Interviews allow you to understand why specific customers like your product or service, so they're a great choice for learning how to most effectively market to your customer base. In our landscaping company example, let's say that our company is trying to design a short ad that will run on local TV.

Interviewing a few dozen customer can help us decide which aspects of our service to focus on in the ad. For instance, if most of our interviewees say that they hire landscapers because they don't have the time to maintain their lawns on their own, we might make an ad that focuses on the time-saving potential of our service. Let us do the work for you! Companies considering implementing new products or services often let potential customers try their product or service for free so that they can iron out any problems before rolling it out.

Bringing in a selection of customers for testing can help you determine whether your plans to offer a new product or service are in need of further review or not.

In our landscaping company example, let's say that we're considering offering a new service where we plant flowers in the customer's yard after doing our landscaping. We might let a few "test" customers choose to have the chance to receive this service for free under the condition that they discuss it with us afterwards. If we find that our customers appreciate getting the service for free but would never pay for it, we might reconsider our roll-out of this new program.

Part 3 Quiz Which of the following is a good question to ask in a one-on-one interview? Answer the original question that led to your research. You should also test your marketing message and marketing materials.

Market research plays a role here too, of course: Have you used market research before? What new discoveries did you make about your customers? Tell us in the comments below! Alex Pejak is an economist currently working on a few projects in Australia. Despite having a degree in Finance, Banking and Insurance, market research has always been her passion. An ultimate guide on how to automate your business processes and life. Leaders in Heels is an online community created to nurture, inspire and empower female leaders.

We create elegant, inspirational and purposeful stationery that helps women shape daily habits to nurture and empower the leader inside them. Interview with Bianca Bellantoni. Not sales or marketing! How rejection can be the beginning for your business and not the end. How to improve your Google Business Listing. Create a winning social media strategy on a start-up budget. Flaws you find in your grand plan at the start of the process will be much easier to correct than further down the line.

Plus, having a better understanding of your market will help you to create a business strategy, providing you with more information about how many staff you might need to employ, how big your premises will need to be and how much stock you might need to start with. The more information you have to help you plan, the less likely you are to waste money. All the data you gather will also be crucial for any investment pitches you have to make; preparation will increase the likelihood that investors will consider you as a sensible bet.

Market research will also provide you with a better understanding of your competition - and ultimately how to make your business perform better than others.

Click here to watch it. There are many different ways you can conduct market research, from hitting your local high street and interviewing potential customers to analysing trends in larger market data. If your business is on the smaller end of the scale, you will be able to collect most, if not all, of the necessary market data yourself. If your aiming for global domination, you might need some outside help.

There are a whole host of places you can find statistics on your chosen market. Although the Office for National Statistics website is a bit of a maze, you can find information on pretty much anything if you look hard enough. That includes people's spending habits, how prices change and demographics, to name just a few useful things.

It might also be worth checking out the British Library's workshops and events section for opportunities to network with others at the same stage as you and get advice from experts who have been through it before. Remember, if you do have a direct competitor you might be able to find out a lot from their sales data, or just looking at what they are doing. Asking the public what they think could help your new business be a success. If your business venture is a little bit more ambitious it might be worth paying for research tailored specifically to you, from companies such as Mintel, Data Monitor and Euromonitor.

A professional service might be helpful in targeting the right people and asking the right questions if you are unsure. It's always worth checking out a few to make sure you are getting the best possible price, but you should make sure you use an accredited company. You could also try the Independent Consultants Group. There are a number of ways to gauge opinions on your business venture. Stopping people on the street in your local area to answer a questionnaire might be one of the hardest ways to get information, but it can often be the best way to get information on your target market straight from the horse's mouth.

It's important to keep things brief though, and make sure people know you are not trying to sell them anything. If you do meet anybody who is keen and willing to help, it could be a good idea to offer them a coffee in exchange for a longer chat. Try to be strategic about the times of the day and the places you target. You could consider cold-calling, particularly if you don't have the patience to stand outside and grab people's attention as they walk by.

There are databases you can buy, with email addresses and phone numbers, but you might find that people are not terribly receptive and a more personal approach works better. Another answer is to engage friends and family.

Tell them to be honest with you and pitch your ideas to them, their help in refining what you plan to do and simply telling you what they would like out of a product or service can be invaluable.

The internet is one of the best ways to work out potential demand for your product or business. Although asking friends and family can be helpful to an extent, when it comes to investing your hard-earned cash in a new business, you need brutal honesty. To get a high volume of answers quickly and easily you could try using social media or online survey providers. Social media is one of the most useful tools at your disposal when it comes to getting a large volume of quick, and most importantly free, answers.

You can use anything from Twitter and LinkedIn to Facebook, but you will need to use a certain degree of common sense when deciding which social networks to use. For example, you will be better using LinkedIn if your potential clients are other businesses. A community Facebook group, on the other hand, might be more relevant if you want to set up a new local shop.

This approach will have the added bonus of advertising your new venture at the same time, as the people you interact with will ultimately be your potential customer base. You will have to be careful about revealing too much detail, though, as you don't want to give away any of your valuable ideas.

You could even try the This is Money forum. If you are looking for a more anonymous approach, you could try sending off a question about your potential business to an online panel.

For a fee, the online panel provider will circulate your question to a selection of people across different demographics - they are often made up of hundreds of people.

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Marketing research can give a business a picture of what kinds of new products and services may bring a profit. For products and services already available, marketing research can tell companies whether they are meeting .

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Dec 18,  · Small Business Center: Can you briefly define market research and its purpose? Robert Kaden: The purpose of marketing research is to uncover the needs, wants, wishes, desires, and emotions of customers and prospects so that you can get them, keep them, and sell them more/5(2).

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Showing that you know the state of the market and understand what you need to do to succeed is critical in a business plan. The Best Ways to Do Market Research for Your Business Plan. Mooney points to five key steps in the market research process: deciding the questions you need answers to, deciding what information you need to collect in order to answer those questions, deciding how you're going to collect the information, how you're going to analyse it, and what you're going to do with the results.

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How to Do Market Research for a Business Plan by Ivana Taylor Publisher of, ranked amongst most influential people on the Internet, Market Research . The Market Research Grid shows the two types of data sources and the three areas of research that are important to any need to gather information from and about your customers to focus your marketing efforts, maintain and improve your customer service, and to guide your efforts in developing new products and/or .