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Tips to Improve Your Business and Market Research Skills

— June 13, 2019

Building your business is about more than production of a product. Knowing your customers through rigorous market research is vital to your success.

Market research is the key to making better business decisions and one of the many essentials a company needs to thrive. Apart from providing advantages to new organizations, continuous market research is important to a business’ long-term success. This is especially true if you are after driving profitable growth, planning on entering a new market or looking to sustain your competitive advantage over time. Simply put, it is the most basic form of understanding a company’s target market, identifying consumer problems and determining realistic competitors.

No matter what the size your organization is, whatever stage you’re currently at or whatever type of business you have, possessing the right marketing research skills is a must and a necessity that should never be underestimated.

In order for successful market research to be conducted, some of the skills a great marketer should have include:

● knowing the right customers and markets

● managing work according to a schedule

● having a revenue-driven perspective

● being capable of creating exceptional customer experiences

● having the ability to be a great storyteller

● practicing the “test everything and assume nothing” approach

● using data to make well-informed decisions

● enjoying working with the latest technology

● delivering specific and identifiable results

● having the continuous desire to learn

Although a market is a very volatile place that can change anytime, especially in the e-commerce field, constant market research doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. As long as you know how to leverage your understanding and knowledge of what market research truly is about, it can be done successfully. Continue reading to find out some of the best tips to improve your business and marketing research skills.

Woman seated at a long table working on a laptop; image by Andrew Neel, via
Woman seated at a long table working on a laptop; image by Andrew Neel, via

Determine the objectives of your market research

Your overall objective lies upon deciding what you want to learn about and obtain from your market, as well as the external factors influencing it. It will impact the extent of the research you need to undertake and also allow you to distinguish which type you need to use. These types are 

Primary research – information will be gathered from your customers, non-customers or competitors directly. Interacting with your audience by talking to them personally or asking them to take part in surveys are a few examples.

Secondary research – information comes from data which others have produced such as industry organizations, government bodies or simply from the Internet.

Market research can also be done in two methods:

Qualitative research – used to understand people’s underlying reasons, opinions and motivations, which may reveal what they think about your business, products, and services. Techniques may include the use of focus groups or personal in-depth interviews and observations.

Quantitative research – compared to qualitative research, quantitative research usually has more respondents and produces more structured and statistical data. For example, the use of surveys and polls, which can also increase the number of site visitors on your webpage.

Familiarize yourself with the different types of customer

There are three different types of customer every new business should know about. Knowing this is an important part of market research as it will be the key to identifying how you will turn your target audience into regular customers and brand advocates.

The “savvy” purchaser – someone who is more concerned about getting the best possible value instead of the quality or effectiveness of an actual product or service.

The industry influencer – someone who is highly knowledgeable about your target market who can also sway other prospective customers who trust their opinion.

The end-user – customers who will actually use your products or services on a daily basis. They are the best candidates for primary market research, which will allows you to design and develop new products based on their frustrations and limitations.

Remember that context is everything

The best market researchers know the limitations of what’s out there and use that wide knowledge base to give a clearer picture of a given industry. Instead of using census data alone, consider diving deeper into error rates and changes in category definitions while comparing them to foreign trade trends and reports from other sources. Another example is to always take into account the methodology, communication channels, and reliability of free market research reports available from the Internet.

Steer clear from making assumptions

Making well-informed decisions instinctively can be a make or break strategy. That said, it’s better to always test everything such as pricing, new marketing campaigns or ad copies before assuming that they can generate positive business results.

Realize the information

The point of performing constant market research is for you to use the accumulated information and apply it in your business planning. Just be careful in interpreting external data as it may have been gathered for different purposes or may be from a range that doesn’t match your target market.

Thanks to the rapid arrival of new technologies through digital revolutions, the Internet, and the ever-changing customer behavior, marketing continue to change swiftly. The good thing is that marketers are also provided with more opportunities and tools to utilize. It balances the need for them to learn at a faster pace in order to follow through on the latest market trends.

Keep in mind that having all the skills required to run a business makes a good business owner, but executing thorough and efficient marketing research is what makes a company more eminent and profitable in the long run. Although today’s technology makes everything for us way more convenient, it is you who has the power to keep your business at the top at all times.

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