How do you move from holding 85% of the market share in your business globally to a feature in the ‘Billion-Dollar Lessons: What You Can Learn From The Most Inexcusable Business Failures of the Last 25 Years’?
By not attuning yourself to the times and what the consumer demands.
This is what happened to Kodak, which was wildly successful throughout the 1900s, reaching around $10 billion in sales at one point and filing for bankruptcy in 2012. Why? Their refusal to tune into what the market demands and move to digital photography while they were already successfully selling film reels.
Stories like Kodak’s are excellent reminders of why market research and implementation of said research is essential for businesses, political organizations, nonprofits, and others to be successful.
Market research forms the core of every successful strategy – whether business, politics, nonprofits, education, or any other segment. To conduct research that brings you results, it is important to know the types of market research methods that you can opt for and which ones suit your requirement according to your budget and audience type. Let’s explore.
Why conduct market research?
Market research is the process of identifying, collecting, and analyzing data about your target market and audience. For businesses, it might mean knowing more about their ideal market. For political organizations, it could mean learning more about their vote share. However, the end goal of market research is collecting information to empower decisions.
Apart from keeping an organization updated with the latest trends and data points, market research has many benefits that need to be looked into. Market research helps you determine:
1. The strengths and weaknesses of your organization
A market research study would help you get an analytical understanding of what is working for your organization or campaign and what isn’t. Through different types of market research, you can determine your strengths and weaknesses and how you can improve upon them.
2. Who are your competitors
Always better to go prepared to battle knowing what is in store for you, right? Knowing who your competitors are, what their success secrets are, the segment they are targeting, and how they are producing results can go a long way in feeding into what your strategy needs to be. Attune your market research study to know more about your competitors and how you can do better.
3. Who is your target market/audience
You could be surprised by the results that a market research study in this area can bring up. Did you always think your product or messaging was directed towards the younger demographic? You might be surprised to find out that senior citizens enjoy and support your work.
The point is, you never really know until you know. Data-backed market research is the perfect way to know who your most likely customer is and the best way to reach them.
4. The size and scope of your industry
Imagine opening a bakery in a town full of health-conscious, keto-friendly people. That’s going to sting. Before you begin your endeavor, a market research study to understand the potential of said endeavor is essential.
It allows you to determine how large your market is, what percentage of market share you can hope to capture, and how successful your endeavor will be monetarily.
5. How to design your marketing strategy
With the data points and reports that you collate after your market research study, you will be far better equipped to prepare a marketing strategy. Empowered by data, it becomes easier to know who to target, how to reach them, and where they will be found.
Use the data you collate to develop a winning marketing strategy!
6. Forecasts for the next election cycle or financial year
While surprises are great, they aren’t when big budgets, investors, supporters, employees, and higher stakes are involved. Forecasts have always been essential to gauge how your organization is performing and what it can expect in the future. And you know what helps with generating forecasts? That’s right, market research!
Use it to determine your profits in the next quarter or a changing vote share over time – there’s a variety of insights that a market research study can provide across industries.
7. An appropriate sales system
Determining an appropriate sales system is not only about streamlining your sales processes but also knowing how to reach out to your audience and how to pitch your product, candidate, or fundraiser to them.
Is your target audience more comfortable with texts or calls in the stage of initial contact? What motivates them to convert into a consumer? There are many questions that a good market research study will help you answer.
8. Your brand’s social perception
What do people think about when they think of you and your brand? Are they inspired or annoyed? Does your brand inspire faith, or do people not believe it will do what you claim?
Your brand messaging, image, persona, outreach strategy, etc., can all be significantly influenced by the information you collate from a market research study.
9. How your audience wants to be found
Different audience segments have different ways in which they want to be reached out to or found. It could be through Instagram or Youtube advertisements that are less invasive, text messages that are easy to access, or phone calls that inspire faith in the recipient.
Market research will help you understand where you can easily reach your target market.
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10. Future trends that may result in the need to expand offerings or services
Being futuristic and determining what needs to shift in the business or what innovation you need to spend your money, time, and energy on can be made easy through a market research study. Kodak, for instance, knew they had 10 years to prepare for the digital photography wave to take over – an insight that could have changed the course of their business and the fate of the company.
Keeping an eye on how your industry is shape-shifting for the future helps you course correct and stay in the race longer.
Keeping these benefits in mind, note down your goals for conducting a market research study. Your goals will help you determine which types of market research would suit you the best – a topic we’re exploring next.
Types of market research
There are primarily four types of market research that organizations can undertake:
- Qualitative, and
Each of these market research methods helps you gather data and information about your target market and audience in different ways.
Primary research is a type of market research that involves first-party data or information. It is data that you gather and collate on your own over time or by using different methods of research, such as:
- Focus groups
- Group discussions
- Mystery shopping
Under primary research, you do not depend on other sources for your data. The information comes directly from your customers and the market. It is highly personal to you since it is directed towards your existing audience. The best part? You own this data and can choose to share it or not.
You collect raw data from your audience, collate it, analyze it, and understand trends and opinions accordingly.
CallHub conducted its primary research by analyzing approximately 800,000 texts to determine The Best and Worst Times to Send a Political Text Blast. Two things that stood out about this research are that firstly, we had our own corpus of data to go back to and understand the best way to optimize text campaigns – we did not require external sources. Second, it helped our customers gain valuable insights, getting us some brownie points!
The best way to conduct primary research is to go through your own data sets and insights gathered over the years in the industry. You could explore surveys through emails, phone calls, or text messages. CallHub enables you to conduct phone and text surveys with ease. Personal interviews can be conducted through in-person meetups, calls, peer-to-peer texting.
Secondary data uses third-party data to gain information and insights. It is research conducted by a third party or another organization that you can use to guide your own research and strategy. Good sources of this type of market research include:
- Case studies
- Research articles
- Online courses
- Expert talks
This is a relatively cheaper and less time-consuming method of market research that is perfect for small businesses and organizations that lack both the budget and time to conduct primary research. However, keep in mind that you do not own any of this research and may miss out on unique opportunities to gain insights specific to your organization.
Secondary research can also be a great starting point for your primary research and guide your methodology accordingly.
Ever had questions about your organization and work that do not have specific answers? For example, how does one feel when they think about you – as a political candidate, as a nonprofit organization working with the local community, or as a business that promises certain benefits through their products or services?
Qualitative research is a type of market research that collects data that can’t precisely be measured. It can be either primary or secondary research, but it answers pivotal questions around an organization. You can ask questions such as:
- What do you think of our candidate running for the election?
- Why did you buy our product?
- What do you like the most about the kind of work that our organization does?
Asking open-ended questions in this market research study will help you know what your target audience really thinks about you. It is far more insightful, especially when determining your brand perception and loyalty.
Here are ways in which you can conduct qualitative research:
- Online forums
- Online communities
- Surveys and questionnaires
- In-depth interviews
- Real-world dialogue
Pure numbers. Do you need to know hard figures to determine your financial forecasts for the next year? Quantitative research is the way to go.
Quantitative research helps you collate statistics and numbers to determine your marketing, sales, and fundraising goals. They are hard facts that are not open to interpretation and give you an accurate understanding of ground reality. Here are some ways through which you can gather the numbers for quantitative research:
- Social media followers
- Social media engagement
- Financial records
- Website traffic
- Google analytics
- SEO ranking
- Number of subscribers
- Share of voters
- Share of voice
Quantitative research is effortless to track since it deals with numbers. You know growth has taken place when your social media followers increase by 10%. Once you determine where and how to spend your money and time through quantitative research, you can track progress with no difficulty.
Now that you know the four different types of market research, how do you determine which market research method to use? We’ve listed a few ways.
How do you determine which market research methods to use?
Determining which type of market research to use becomes easy when you know why you are conducting the market research. Remember we asked you to note down your market research goals earlier in the article? Now is the time to go through those notes and figure out which of these points you fall under:
- Awareness: You’ve come up with a new product or service. Maybe you are a first-time candidate running for office. When increasing awareness is your goal, the types of market research to implement are secondary and qualitative methods.
Secondary research helps you gain ground by understanding what others in the same field have done. Qualitative research will answer questions that are difficult for you to answer at the beginning of a project.
- Targeting: When you want to find out who that perfect customer or audience is to support your cause or buy your product, you are using research to determine targeting.
A combination of primary and secondary research methods can go a long way in understanding who your target market is. Through primary research methods like polls, surveys, ads, you can learn more about the kind of people interacting with your organization. Secondary research helps you understand the audience that your competitors are targeting and winning with.
- Acquisition: If acquisition is your goal, and you want to know what the perfect price point, sales offer, or marketing message is, then you need to explore quantitative research as your method of market research.
Getting empirical data that helps you make forecasts, sales predictions, etc., gives you solid ground on which to stand and solve all your acquisition-related problems.
- Retention: How do you keep people from leaving? Building an organization that people would like to support over a long period is no easy task. Especially for nonprofits who would like to encourage repeat donations and funding, political candidates who want to maintain loyalty, and businesses who would like repeat customers – retention is an important aspect of your organization’s strategy.
To retain customers, it is crucial to know how they feel, what they think about your product or service, or organization and take action accordingly. With a combination of primary research under which you speak to your customers directly through polls, interviews, and surveys; and qualitative research that encourages open-ended questions, you can collate a lot of information to chalk out a retention strategy.
Knowing different types of market research strategies and implementing them to create the kind of organization you want to is step one towards success. Implementing the tools required to undertake such operations comes next.
CallHub’s texting and calling software is an excellent addition to your research initiatives. Through CallHub’s software, you can reach out to thousands of people, collate notes, generate reports and analyze data with ease. Start your 14-day trial today and get going on your market research!
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