Best practice of the week: 2.1 Market research
Market research is the only way you can feel confident you’re selling the right products at the right price in the right place and in the right way. It’s necessary for understanding your changing competitive landscape. The results of the research can redirect your entire organization. Or are you afraid of what your customers will say about you?
THE CENTER’S BEST PRACTICE OF THE WEEK: 2.1 Market research
Definition of market research: “How to learn what customers and prospects think and feel about your organization and what it offers (or should offer). A replacement for wishful thinking.”
Customer primary research – interviews, surveys, questionnaires, focus groups
- What factors do you consider when purchasing this product or service?
- What do you like or dislike about current products or services currently on the market?
- What areas would you suggest for improvement?
- What is the appropriate price for a product or service?
Customer secondary research – existing data
- Quantitative – finding statistically significant differences in buying behavior
- Qualitative – analysis of customers opinions, values, beliefs, behavioral patterns
- Size and growth factors
- Major trends and driving factors
- Competitive developments – new entrants, mergers/alliances/joint ventures, new product developments, R&D developments, participant strategies
- Segments by product form, product application, distribution channels
3 Good Questions (discuss in a management meeting)
- How do customers compare us to our top 3 competitors?
- How have customers’ needs, tastes and options changed?
- What will change the size of our markets and submarkets?
The recent spike in online purchases increases the opportunity to conduct inexpensive, data-rich research. You already have a lot of information flowing toward you: blogs and social media are gauges of market opinion as well as forms of communication. Three-question surveys (including post-sale satisfaction) still work and don’t forget to regularly review competitor websites and to use keyword search and your own customer profile databases.