When you are thinking of conducting market research for your company, it’s important to do it the right way. You may think back to the hours you spent on research projects in college and high school. In my youth, I thought I would never use that stuff again! However, the steps you took then will help you conduct successful market research now. Luckily, if you have social media outlets, some of this can be done yourself!
Follow the steps to get to know your audience in a whole new way.
*For the purposes of this blog post, pretend I am a women’s boutique owner in a college town. This is a completely hypothetical situation.
- Step 1 – Identify a problem. Say that I end up putting a lot of things on sale at the end of each month and losing money.
Example problem: Everything ends up on sale.
- Step 2 – Choose your topic. You’re not trying to solve a problem here (though market research can have that positive side effect). Pick something general you want to find out about your market that may relate to your problem.
Example topic: College students’ spending habits
- Step 3 – Find basic information. While basic trends and common knowledge come from some parts of the truth, don’t simply rely on stereotypes; having a general understanding of your target audience is an essential foundation that will help you move into deeper subject matter. Wikipedia can be a good place to start for finding basic information.
Example info: College students use Facebook a lot. Some students also have a lot of discretionary income from their parents, but most live on a budget.
- Step 4 – Refine your topic. What is unique to your market but still relates to other markets? This part is where you narrow your search to make sure you actually get relevant information. You should also decide whether you want qualitative or quantitative information.
Example: College students’ spending habits/budgets for clothes in Texas
- Step 5 – Conduct research. Using relevant sources (i.e. sources with more credibility than Wikipedia) find information and studies on your refined topic. You can also do customer surveys through Facebook, conduct focus groups, etc. depending on if you want qualitative data. Make sure you are consistent in your research approach in whatever you decide. Take notes on your findings.
- Step 6 – Summarize your findings.
Example: Female college students spend 25% of their money on clothes. The average amount of extra money college students have is $500/month.
- Step 7 – Apply and assess implications to your business.
Example: Since most female college students are on a budget of some sort, it might be worth it to offer a wide variety of items that vary in price points. This would accommodate the needs of smaller and larger budgets.
We also found another great article that can be a vital resource for you in this process.
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