Posted on March 10, 2010
I often meet entrepreneurs who have started, or are starting, a new business and who ask me what type of market research they should conduct. Some are inventors who have come up with a gadget they love, but don’t know if there is market for it. Others have launched products and services and soon realize they need to re-think product features, benefits, advertising and the customer experience.
Regardless of whether your customers are consumers or business decision makers, at Relevant Insights we always recommend assuming a customer-centric market research approach in alignment with our clients’ business objectives. This is based on two basic principles:
- Learn how to connect with your target customer by getting a 360 degree view of his behaviors, experiences, knowledge and emotions.
- Have a clear idea of what you want the customer to think and do regarding the company’s brand and products having in mind the ultimate business goals: acquire and retain customers.
A market research plan based on these two principles would include four key areas of research, which become relevant depending on the internal knowledge available inside the company in connection with the lifecycle of the product. These four areas are:
- Awareness: As a Cuban saying goes “the baby who doesn’t cry, doesn’t eat,” we have to let the market know about our products and services if we want buyers.
- Targeting: Businesses usually are more successful if they are able to define early on who their target customers are, and which customer segments have the highest profit potential.
- Acquisition: Without customers any business is bound to fail, so we need to know how we can attract new customers through appealing product benefits, the right pricing model, and effective marketing programs.
- Retention: Generating repeat purchases from current customers is the most cost-efficient path to business growth, so a retention strategy is a must for any business that wants to thrive.
There are many research questions that can be asked within each of these area depending on the stage a product, brand or company is at. Below are some of the questions that should be in the short list of any business that wants to succeed.
Find the answers to these questions and you will learn how to connect with your target customers and be light years ahead of your competition.