Have you ever wondered why the McDonalds’ logo is in red and blue or the packaging of Acne stores is always pink? Well these are not something that happened by chance. Every decision a brand makes right from their in store design to their choice of a name has been planned. These decisions are backed by a good market research. Brands do not spend hefty amounts on research for nothing. Market research helps them to know more about their customers and their buying behaviour.
Now if you thought that market research is what big brands do, you are mistaken. Market research is very crucial for small and new entrants. Doing a market research helps new brands to identify untapped markets and decide who their target customers are. An objective based market study helps to position your brand and gain a sound customer base.
The research process need not be complicated and costly. These studies can be done on a smaller scale. In fact, they save your money and help you make wise decisions. For instance, getting to know that most of your customers fall in the age group of 18- 25, can help you choose the best advertising mode, store design, location etc.
Where do i get my data?
Data is unprocessed information about the customers. There are two kinds of data used in market research.
1.Primary Data– Data you obtain by yourself or through an expert hired by you is called primary data.
Common methods used to get Primary data
- Interviews– interacting with people on a personal level can give you a lot of information about the target customers.
- Survey– Getting specific information through small questionnaires that are either circulated in online/offline mode is also popular.
- Focus groups– Select people who match the profile of your customers get together and discuss about the brand/ product. Insights are drawn from their interaction. This highly depends on the researcher and moderator’s talent in interpreting data.
- Observation – This is an interesting field research method where a researcher silently observes the customers in a store. Such a research has objectives like ‘understanding what makes a customer buy a product?’ For example a study commissioned by XXL & Outdoor Oy was carried out using an eye tracker device installed in their store. The device recorded what the customer looked at while inside the store. Interestingly, the study found that XXL’s in store advertising attracted a lot of them to enter the premises. Once in, the customers were keener to see on the product information rather than the prices. Such tracking devices are a new age replacement for human observers. This kind of field research method can be adopted easily in case of small stores and the best part is you can do it yourself.
- Secondary Data– information already available in websites, trade association reports, and studies by government agencies is secondary data. This is mostly quantitative / numerical data. What you want to find will determine the kind of analysis that has to be done with the data. A data analyst can help you draw more insights from this kind of data.
Check out some simpler versions of market research
- A traditional visitor’s book or online feedback forms are a good source of information. They inform you about customers’ likes, dislikes, grievances, issues, suggestions, expectations etc.
- If your store is small, then having a casual talk with the customers can often give you more information than a big budget study. It lets you come up with the profile of your average customer and helps you better understand their needs.
- Observe your competitors and get to know their strengths and weaknesses. Follow your competitors in social media and visit their websites to know their best practices. Their discontented customers can become your prospective ones.
- An informal poll in Instagram or Facebook is an instant way of collecting information. Also going through the comments for your posts and increasing your followers can increase your database.
- Adding a customer survey to the homepage of your website is also a good idea of generating data. Keep the questions simple and relevant to your information needs.
- Understand that research is not a onetime activity. It is a continuous and objective based. Have a clear purpose and choose the research methods accordingly.
Finally it is important to take action based on your study findings. Keep your customers satisfied and continuously revamp your brand in a way that it attracts new customers. Never shy from taking risks and trying out new things. Happy venturing!