It’s good to be in the know.

But how do you know what you need to know if you didn’t know you needed to know it?

That’s where great product or market research is worth its weight in gold. Insights and illumination that inform smart decisions and achieve the best possible return on investment.

We can rely on a hunch or guesswork. Successful companies don’t.

Apple’s own ‘Customer Pulse’ group is a key way in which their iPhones, Watches and innovations in the making become instant must-haves. Because, through their constant data mining, their research feeds into design and manufacturing – and, ultimately, into a successful launch.

Nothing arduous either. For them, rather than an expensive market research agency, they utilise online surveys that are analysed and turned into useful information.

Same for McDonalds. The fast food giant solicits feedback through consumer research companies. They want to know what restaurants get the most visits, what their audience is watching and listening to, and what kind of products they want – and at what price.

Straightforward but effective.

What does quality market research achieve?

It reduces risk

Market research for startups is particularly vital.

Of new businesses, 20 per cent don’t survive past their first year and a whopping 60 per cent perish within their first three years. 

Many simply don’t build a viable stream of customers and sales from day one. They fail to hit the ground running and quickly stall. So frequently, they were doomed by entering a market where there was no room or simply no demand.

That’s where market research companies can come into their own. Exploring who potential customers are and how to reach them. Even checking in with current clients to make sure their needs are still being adequately met.

It is a horrible feeling to lose a valued customer. But it’s priceless info to approach the ones who haven’t generated repeat business and ask ‘why?’

Deploying a third party like an outsourced researcher to generating a survey can provide honest and useful responses and identify problems.

Some people fear a large volume of responses. Just get someone who will securely batch process survey results in rapid time.

Know where customers lurk

Marketing costs. You want the biggest bang for your buck, especially for small businesses with limited budgets.

To get to a potential customer, knowing where they might be found is essential to avoid burning money in the night air. Research will be the different between a keenly-targeted spend and a shot in the dark.

Taking buying online advertising, for example. Is Google the outlet for you? Especially in a crowded market where even a boost in SEO might not reach the people you seek and be high enough up the page.

Social media buys are, for many, the ultimate sales channel. But which one? Your targets could be on TikTok over Facebook. Or be Instagram addicts. Pre-qualifying their habits will pay dividends.

Be aware of (new) business opportunities

After your market research is complete, you’ll know who your customers are, where they live and what they want.

But how to maximise that? Identifying possible collaborators or influencers will expedite growth and feed your marketing.

Knowing the right places to push your product or service will inform both distribution and any physical promotion on the ground.

And there’s cross-selling to be done to grow revenues beyond an initial spend. You like what we have… what more can we offer? Find out.

Out-smart competitors

It’s a competition. So come out first. If you can be better than your competitors at learning what your customers want and how you can deliver, it slashes the odds of owning the market and becoming the first choice to buy from.

Knowing what your rivals have to offer is precious whether you are a billion-pound hardware manufacturer or an independent coffee shop on the corner.

Finding out what they don’t have is as significant as what they do. Deploy a virtual personal assistant to comparison shop and see where the gaps in the market exist to be exploited.

Even online. Amazon’s website offers exceptional insights into how consumers think and act in their buying decisions. There to be exploited.

Get an evaluation of competitors’ online reviews and see where their strengths and weaknesses are.

And do the same for yourself. Ensure you seek out and evaluate your own feedback. It’s a treasure trove of information about what consumers liked and didn’t and they often detail improvements or features that people will pay for.

Communicate cleverly

By knowing your customer base, you’ll be better at communicating to them. Why to buy from you. Why you’re the bees’ knees, not a wasps’ ankles (or something like that).

That’s where clever email marketing or social media management can make a genuine difference, taking the data and converting into sales pitches that sing.

Get value

We often research our own products or offerings. But not as much for what we buy.

Choice is immense in an online world. But what is the right purchase for you, whether it’s office furniture, vehicles, travel or even that holiday you had in mind for next year? How do you comparison shop the market?

It’s a headache to pore over all the options and separate the good from the great. A virtual PA conducting product research or is one way to save time on those deliberations.

Plan ahead

It’s easy to be focused on today. Especially, when things are going well and the sales are flooding in.

But nothing lasts forever. There are always fresh opportunities and also threats around the corner.

So, keep learning about shifts in trends and how demand patterns might move so you are never caught unawares.

A little research goes a long way.

How SmartPA can support

Delegate your research tasks to our expert virtual PAs and streamline your business costs. Join over 3000 businesses who use our services to ensure their administrative tasks are completed accurately and on time.

Getting the right person to support your business does not need to be difficult and costs less than you think. Get in touch today.

We have also released our "Importance of Market Research in Business" article which identifies how businesses can conduct market research to achieve the best results.

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