We are creatures of habit. If things are working, even if they are merely good enough, we may be reluctant to change them. You know the saying if it ain’t broke don’t fix it? But how to know if there is something better for us on the market? The only way is to get over our complacency and do the research. To motivate us towards that end, I’ve compiled a few points on why market research is important to entrepreneurs.
Market research done well removes ambiguity from your customer base. They are no longer everyone, but a group with specific characteristics – and problems – that you can solve. What’s more, it gives you information on how to reach them, so that you can minimise the experimentation phase of your marketing and utilise channels that have the highest chances of reaching your audience at their most receptive. It makes your promotional materials, if not easier to create, then better defined. Whether you are producing them in-house or working with a marketing agency, the more specific message you can deliver to your target audience, with appropriate language and imagery, the better use you’ll get of the available targeting options.
With your ideal client profiled, you can look for a partner that is perhaps already addressing them successfully. This may not be a competitor (although you will find that conducting market research is useful in keeping an eye on their proceedings as well), but someone offering a supplementary service or product. Perhaps you can unite efforts and create an even stronger offer, a more effective marketing strategy (for social media and beyond) that will make it easier for the market to find and buy your product.
Being able to test your innovations on a willing group of consumers is precious. Whether it’s an upgrade of an existing product or an ambitious effort to diversify your offering with a completely new service, it is worth testing. Even when the product works in one circumstance, a new environment can impact its performance or customers’ reactions. I recently read that when Wal-Mart tried to enter a new market and open in Germany, they had to withdraw their policy of requiring staff members to smile at customers. A course of action that served them brilliantly in the original market could have been their downfall in Germany, where customers found it bizarre and upsetting. It just shows that you never know for sure, and often it is not what you expect.
Changes can happen quickly. It is a game of trying to foresee the unforeseen, tracking trends within the economy, redefining the market because of the pandemic, new buying channels influencing peoples buying habits. There is only one thing to do – keep researching. It is worth it. Your research work is an investment in your business. It should be an activity linked with your strategy and business plan, giving you a better indication of how to achieve your growth.