To ensure survival in a competitive marketplace, it’s essential that businesses obtain an understanding of their customers and competitors. This vital information assists in making key business decisions and promotes innovation and growth. Market research employs a number of quantitative and qualitative research techniques to gather information and provide analysis based on this data. Market research supports the strategic direction of your business and allows you to meet the needs and expectations of your customers.
Understanding your general market
Big picture thinking for better insights
While market research is widely used to understand customers, it is also highly effective when it comes to insights about your market in general. Focusing on the market as a whole allows for bigger picture thinking and explores areas such as:
- The size of your market;
- The number of competitors;
- Industry trends and gaps in the market;
- New products of services;
- The target audience of the market.
Secondary research also allows your business to explore additional factors such as technological advances, government policies, and domestic and international trade which can impact on the business environment. Conducting research into the general market allows you to become a leader in your industry as you embrace the evolving landscape of the market and understand how you fit within it. It allows you to keep up with new trends and emerging markets so you remain relevant.
Embracing secondary research
In developing general market insights, much of the data comes from secondary research which means exploring sources which have already been compiled. This could include internal data, industry reports, statistical data, competitor reports and government publications. In the digital age, there is an increasing availability of secondary research data for each industry which allows researchers to carry out detailed analysis about the market and how your business is faring. Analysing secondary data is a skill in itself as there are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account such as the credibility of the source and whether the data is relevant to your industry.
Understanding your competitors
Effective competitor analysis
Alongside wider market analysis comes more specific competitor analysis. Understanding competitors can strengthen your business strategy by giving insights into how you can better serve your customers. Talking about business strategy, are you familiar with the Hoshin Kanri matrix, a powerful visual tool that Hoshin Kanri happens to use for managing detailed strategic planning? It is similar to strategic planning methods like OGSM, the Balanced Scorecard, and OKRs. (Note: Hoshin Kanri is a process that enables organizations to build, deploy and accomplish their strategic goals)
Anyway, coming back to competitor analysis, it allows you to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of your own business so you can be more responsive to the needs of your customers. Understanding your competition also means that you can be across new opportunities in your market, and indeed any emerging threats from competitors that you need to be aware of. Competitor analysis allows you to view yourself and your direct competitors from the customer’s perspective.
Carrying out competitor analysis
Effective competitor analysis comes from a combination of secondary research, where you gather available information about your competitors, and primary research, where you obtain information from customers around their perception of competitors. Using market research, you can look at why customers choose your competitors, what they like and don’t like about competitors, what aspects of competitor branding and marketing are most effective and how competitors are viewed in comparison to your business.
Understanding your customers
The importance of understanding people
It’s essential that businesses bring customers to the forefront when it comes to making important business decisions. Market research connects businesses with their customers and means that you understand their needs and desires. There are many businesses who don’t understand their target market which makes it difficult to focus their efforts on that group. When you identify your customers, you can make decisions based on their unique needs. Market research connects directly with your customers to uncover insights which businesses otherwise would not be able to obtain.
Innovation through customer feedback
Connecting with your customers becomes essential when it comes to developing a new product or service, embarking on a new business venture, or identifying potential new markets. None of these business decisions should be taken lightly and customer feedback is essential to ascertain whether the market would be likely to respond to your new idea. For example, you may be considering introducing a new product to the market and market research can provide feedback as to the customer response so you can make an informed decision as to whether you want to proceed. You can do this by using customer experience management software that can be found on websites such as https://www.qualtrics.com/experience-management/customer/customer-experience-management-platform/. This can help you to manage your company’s interactions with customers, both current and potential.
Understand your brand positioning
It’s essential that your business develops its own unique brand identity which connects with your customers to ensure that you stand out from the competition. Market research allows you to continually track the brand health of your business and obtain feedback as to overall customer satisfaction. This allows you to make important changes to aspects of your business such as customer communication, branding, marketing and promotional campaigns. Leveraging market research tools such as the ones from Tivian (https://www.tivian.com/us/products/market-research/) can help reduce manual work and get insights quicker. Ongoing customer feedback through market research techniques means that you can be confident that your customers feel connected to your brand and show that you value their opinion.
Employing a range of research techniques
When it comes to understanding your customers, a range of primary research techniques can be applied depending on the type of information you require. Common forms of primary research methods include:
- Face to face interviews;
- Telephone interviews;
- Postal surveys;
- Online surveys;
- Focus groups;
- Test marketing.
A combination of primary research and secondary research techniques are used by market researchers to provide insights into the customer experience.
Kantar Australia is one of the largest and most experienced market research agencies in Australia and we understand the Australian population better than anyone. Our experienced team of senior market researchers apply the latest market research techniques to provide you with a better understanding of your customers. We tailor your market research strategy based on the needs of your business for a personalised approach to promote continued market growth.
To find out how Kantar Australia * can help your business embrace market research for invaluable insights, speak with our team today.