Gathering market research data is an excellent way of identifying a target audience for your product or service, but understanding and acting upon it is the key to your success.
Market research falls into two broad categories – primary and secondary. Primary research describes the process of gathering information from customers directly, by conducting online surveys or organising focus groups or one-to-one interviews with carefully selected individuals from within your target group. Secondary research more involves picking up information acquired by others, by trawling the blogs and websites of other businesses, even competitors, and absorbing the data that they have.
Adapting to Customer Expectations
Online surveys are an excellent means of compiling vital information from your potential customers which enables products and services to be more finely tuned to their expectations as well as to possibly changing demographics. The proliferation of companies offering online research to businesses which seek important information, both from their target group and sometimes from the wider public, provides an alluring range of options and choices of approach and methodology. For those who would prefer not to outsource the information-gathering process there are options such as Survey Monkey, which allow businesses to design and manage their own surveys. Either way, as method and technology become more sophisticated with the development of better software, businesses are increasingly able to identify with precision the customer base which they are keen to interrogate.
As well using surveys to identify potential customers, many businesses will also employ them as a handy way of keeping up with trends and spotting any movements in customer expectations. Equally they are a useful tool for quality control, teasing intelligence from existing service users about satisfaction levels and how a product or service measures up against its opposition at any specific moment in time.
The Importance of Understanding Your Customers
Survey companies such as YouGov and Ipsos obtain their information from the public by offering a small financial incentive to their own members to complete questionnaires on specific topics. Of course there is the danger that particular demographic groups may be over- or under-represented amongst their users, for instance it would be reasonable to assume that, all else being equal, those on a higher income would be less in need of the usually modest financial inducements offered than those who are otherwise unemployed or in low-paid work. The competent provider will be able to redress this imbalance through the screening process at the beginning of every survey.
Knowing who your customers are, the nature of their expectations, the quality of your competition and the level of satisfaction that exists with your own service or product is vital to any business that aspires to stay ahead of the game.