Companies have been known to spend a lot of money on market research before launching a product. The flip side of the coin is that they also spend little to no money or time trying to understand their consumer’s needs and wants.
For the start-up entrepreneur with a terrific product idea, market research either may not be a priority or the idea of market research may be too overwhelming with too many venues and options to consider. Little details like research techniques and sifting through data may end up being pushed aside in the interest of product launches.
Yet this step is extremely crucial to gain a solid understanding of the market, the audience and its behaviors.
1. Old School – As much as the norm has become to turn to online search engines for immediate answers, sometimes a trip to the library is the most productive way of conducting market research. Surprised? Reference librarians are trained to help people sift through relevant and unnecessary information. And they can point you towards the most current publications and trends your potential clients are featured in.
2. Neighborhood, Community and Trade Associations – Not only do they come with rich statistics as a built-in perk, the networking opportunities through these associations offer ample opportunity for informal and qualitative data gathering.
3. Crowd Sourcing – If you’ve ever spent any time on a social media website – Yelp, Facebook or Twitter – you’ve seen high rates of engagement within an existing community. And it’s where your personal network thrives as well; making crowd sourcing an effective way to garner attention, and more importantly, feedback. Fold in a rewards-related call to action and you have the beginnings of two strategic concepts for your marketing plan.
4. Primary Research – This method paves the way for the gathering of quantitative data for your company. Since no one method comes with foolproof data, combine focus group testing with questionnaires, surveys and interviews for an exhaustive list.