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HOW TO DO MARKET RESEARCH FOR YOUR BRAND

Updated: May 23, 2020

Whether you’re looking to start a business or already went as far as creating your website and other promotional assets, marketing is a priority for you. That is, if you want to gain new and retain existing customers.


You may need to create a fresh marketing plan or adapt yours to meet the needs of today’s shoppers, since these are constantly changing. In order to do this, your first step will be to conduct market research.


WHAT IS MARKET RESEARCH?


Market research is the process of gathering information about your target market to determine the key to your business’s success amongst this crowd. It involves understanding the behaviour of consumers, such as knowing where and how they are shopping, what factors influence their choices, and why they do or don’t buy your products and services. This data will allow you to best serve your specific audience.


Through market research you’ll also be able to learn about your industry, such as spotting top trends, examining the market size, and getting to know your competition.


DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRIMARY AND SECONDARY MARKET RESEARCH

There are two main types of research that all of the different methods fall into. Understanding a bit about them will allow you to decide which one, if not parts of both, best suits your market research needs.

1. PRIMARY RESEARCH


In simple terms, primary research is the direct study of customers. It’s the firsthand information on your market. Methods of research include things like focus groups, interviews, and surveys.


This strategy is mostly useful for establishing your buyer personas and defining your target market which we covered in our buyer persona blog.


When conducting this kind of market research, you can do either exploratory open-ended conversations, or come prepared with specific questions you want to discuss. You can decide which approach best suits you based on your needs.


2. SECONDARY RESEARCH


Secondary research is mainly comprised of information that outside sources have gathered, but it’s not limited to just this. It includes all the data and records available, such as trend reports, market stats, and industry-related content.


To access this outside information, you can turn to public sources and commercial research agencies. Also turn to digital marketing statistics, such as your website and social media account’s stats.


HOW TO DO MARKET RESEARCH


Following these five steps on how to do market research will allow your business to grow to new heights by being able to reach your customers more strategically:


  1. Engage with your audience

  2. Determine the best methods to meet their needs

  3. Research your primary competitors

  4. Draw conclusions from your findings


1. DEFINE YOUR BUYER PERSONAS AND TARGET MARKET


The very first thing you should ask yourself is ‘who are my customers?’ If you can’t answer this question, you can’t even begin to interpret their behaviours. This is where buyer personas come in handy. Defining your own starts with creating a fictional representation of your ideal customers. Answer questions such as, ‘how old are they? ‘where are they located?’ ‘what kinds of jobs and hobbies do they have?’


Through your buyer personas, you’ll be able to discover your target audience. Your target audience is the real market you’re reaching. There is a specific audience size and available data you can find through both primary and secondary research on these people.


2. ENGAGE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE


Now that you’ve defined your target market, it’s time to pull a sample and pick their brain. Through primary research methods like focus groups, online surveys, and personal interviews, you’ll be able to get common opinions about your products and services. If you’re still in the process of starting your business, reach out to people that fit the common buyer personas you want to have as future customers.


In order to find your sample, there are many different paths you can take. Ideally you’ll want to choose customers who purchased from you recently, as they’ll have a good memory of their experience. Also, people that almost purchased from you but didn’t in the end, such as abandoned cart shoppers. Other methods include turning to your social media accounts and asking your followers few questions.


3. DETERMINE THE BEST METHODS TO MEET THEIR NEEDS


This step is pretty straightforward. Now that you have an understanding of your audience and have asked for their opinions on your offerings, turn inward to yourself or your marketing geniuses at your company to determine the best methods to meet their needs. The practice of shaping your marketing efforts to fit your audience's needs is powerful for drawing customers toward your brand, and it lies at the core of an important practice called inbound marketing.


An important thing to consider is your product branding, as the look and personality surrounding your brand will certainly determine your success.


4. RESEARCH YOUR PRIMARY COMPETITORS


This begins by classifying your business into an identifiable industry. Having your industry in mind will allow you to determine who your competitors are. This is because you can download marketing reports for specific industries that list out this key information. Besides market reports, you can also turn to search engines like Google and social media channels like LinkedIn to search for industries and related companies. Note that the more specific you are about your niche market in the industry, the more fluid it will be for you to spot your competition.


Once you have your competitors in mind, the next step is to perform a SWOT analysis on them. A SWOT analysis is where you’ll write out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of each of these businesses. Make sure to address the prices of their offerings, the display of their products and services, and other specific information about their marketing efforts.


5. DRAW CONCLUSIONS FROM YOUR FINDINGS


So you have tons of data at this point regarding your target market, their buying and decision-making processes, how you plan to reach them, and who your top competitors in your relevant industry are. The last thing you need to do is pull all of these findings together into a formal report.


Most of the time, this marketing report is part of a company’s business plan but that’s the case if you’re just starting out though. If you’ve been established for a while or are using this information for one particular experiment, you can create an individual marketing research report.



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