Marketing is, in its simplest form, the way that a business gets consumers interested in the products and/or services that it offers. To assist with this, market research is the process in which we can understand what exactly a target audience wants from their products and/or services and even the most efficient way to advertise them. This is an essential part of any business, but especially those that are focused on e-commerce as the internet markets are ever fluctuating and complex.
With so many decisions that a business has to make, market research is a method in which a business can optimize their expenses and increase conversion. Market research makes seemingly impossible decisions more feasible and almost easy to make as they reveal the patterns hidden behind every customer's decisions. This article will serve as a quick and easy introduction for anyone to get their feet wet with market research and increase their understanding of many basic concepts.
We understand that market research is simply the process of gathering information about a target audience’s patterns of behavior and preferences, but what exactly is so important about knowing that? Essentially, it is to manipulate two key factors of a business: experience gap and conversion.
- Experience gap is the most undesirable of the two as it is the discrepancy between the intended effect of a product/service and the actual perceived effect of such from an audience.
- Conversion is of course the most desirable metric as it is the amount of customers who do the desired action of a marketing campaign usually buying a product.
When to use market research is an interesting question as it seems to be something so integral to the business development process, but research should require a general focus to make sure that specific goals can be analyzed and built upon. The worst thing for a business is research which doesn’t really have a purpose, but the bright side is that marketing research is extremely applicable to figuring out how your customer base ticks.
The most common usages of market research include:
- product development
- audience perception
- customer personas
Running a market research campaign also revolves around what particular type of research method you are going to be using. These methods are separated into two different categories based on the way the data is collected: primary and secondary. Primary research is data collected from your own processes (like from surveys or interviews) and secondary research is data collected from outside sources (peer-reviewed studies).
Choosing which method is better for your purposes depends on the scope of your marketing goal, but using both of them together is optimal as it provides the most amount of confidence in your data. If you wish to understand the wants and needs of your current customers a survey can be the best option, but if you want to know the amount of people in a certain age group that purchase candles online an already published study can be what you need.
Compiling an effective data pool for research can be a challenging task, but the primary focus should be unbiased specificity. Having data from a source which is predisposed for a certain answer is ultimately useless for creating a desired result, but having data that is muddled and from too many different sources can be difficult to parse a clear conclusion from. The key is balance and discernment; look through data and maintain an open-mind while also looking at current business statistics. The goal of market research isn’t for academic purposes, but to increase revenue and understanding of your target market. Use market research as a tool for conversion and profit by embracing versatility and innovation.