Before starting any market research it’s important you accurately identify your target market – whether it’s yummy mummies or fitness fanatics, be as specific as possible in identifying an age range, gender, occupation and personality profile of your ideal customer. Once you have that initial profile it’s far easier to target them – both for research and marketing.
Google allows you to research your market without even leaving your sofa or lifting more than your index finger. Blogs and forums may get some bad press as an outlet for people to express their cruellest and bluntest opinions. But, on the other side of the coin they will provide you with some honest feedback on a subject of your choice. A forum like Quora is a fantastic start and readers will broaden your knowledge by identifying relevant blogs.
Once you have read through the opinions of your target customers it’s time to look at the data. This is a case of scouring the internet, going to your local library and searching for the latest research that was undertaken on your industry. You may have to pay for some of this research and it’s important that you recognise that most surveys have agendas. Corporations may well pay for leading questions to receive the answers that work for them. However, really useful information comes from some colour-coded, accurate graphs and pie charts.
This is slightly trickier as people may be reluctant to answer questionnaires and your mum, grandma and sister may not be the ideal target audience you had in mind when designing your tech innovation. However, on a site like Survey Monkey questionnaires are free to compile and you could award a relatively cheap incentive to all participants or alternatively a grand prize to one of your lucky participants. Even if it is just a regift of your Christmas present, everybody loves a freebie. Advertise your questionnaire on relevant Facebook groups to ensure the right people are answering your questions. In market research quality beats quantity each and every time.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing. See what works for them; compare their pricing structure to your own and the mistakes you wouldn’t want to make. Even if you don’t have direct competition there will always be companies operating in a similar industry so understand their plans and find a way to differentiate yours.
Andrew Rhodes- Managing Partner