Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How Do We Think About Market Research?

I was asked today a very pertinent question about market research.  Specifically, how do we think about it?

There are a number of facets to market research.  Here's a list of the more important ones, in the form of questions to answer, for the consideration of any small business, and in no critical order.

1) Who is my target customer?
2) What is the size of my target market? (i.e. how many target customers are there?)  and what share of that can I compete within?  How is that market changing over time?
3) Who are the competitors in my target market? who are the market leaders? Is there turnover?
4) What are my competitors' strengths and weaknesses?
5) What are my competitors doing and planning to do?  what are their products and services?
6) How do target customers view my products and services? how about potential products and services? are there gaps in my offerings?
7) What are my strengths and weaknesses?
8) How do my customers engage with my business?  how many are repeat customers?
9) How much value does each customer represent to me?
10) What is my brand?
11) How does each advertising and promotional channel available to me align with my brand, with my target customer, and with my market?
12) How does each channel perform? (i.e. what is the return on investment?)
13) What search terms, or phrases, best define my business? or my brand?
14) What search terms, or phrases will best appeal to target customers?
15) How are my competitors using advertising and promotional channels?
16) How good is my customer service?
17) How good is my competitors' customer service?
18) How is my industry (or type of business) changing over time? what are the trends?
19) What new products and services should I be thinking about?
20) Is my business optimally sized?  is it too small? too large? what is my capacity for growth?

And there are more, but this should give some sense to the varied questions that any business owner should be asking and what market research needs to be performed.

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