"Data is not information. Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom."
~ Clifford Stoll
Market research consists of gathering data about companies and then analyzes them to better understand what that market needs. The results of the market research are then used to help business owners make more informed decisions about the company’s strategies, operations, and potential customer base. While market research is crucial for a business start-up, it's also useful for established businesses to increase profits. Information and insights about the marketplace, the target market, and the competition allows the development of a successful marketing plan.
How do Businesses Use Market Research?
Business owners use market research to:
Improve aspects of their businesses, such as customer service.
Test interest in new products or services to respond to customer needs.
Find and develop new markets or expand existing ones.
Determine the feasibility of a new business. Market research is an essential component of a business plan for start-up businesses. If market research does not indicate a demand for the product or service, the proposed business will not likely be viable.
Monitor industry and economic trends and develop strategies to adapt the business to the changing environment.
Determine optimal product placement - when, where, and how a product or service will be distributed.
Monitor the competition - checking competitors’ ads, websites, social media campaigns, etc. to see how they attempt to capture some of your market share.
Develop competitive strategies - for example, setting competitive pricing for products or services or determining how your products/services and customer service compare to the competition.
How is Market Research Conducted?
There are several ways that we at Mansfield conduct market research:
Customer Surveys and Interviews
Customer surveys and interviews are conducted in various ways, including street intercepts, online surveys, and telephone interviews. This way of conducting market research about products and services is a simple, inexpensive, and effective way to survey customer preferences. Web-savvy businesses can use their online presence to conduct market research by encouraging customer feedback on business websites and social media.
These are organized sessions with selected groups of people (based on their demographics, psychographics, buying attitudes or past buying behavior) where a scripted topic or Q&A discussion with a moderator takes place to collect useful information. The moderator will ask questions and participants will answer the questions and or discuss the issue with other members while the moderator listens, makes notes and asks additional more probing questions.
This method is used to measure quality of service, compliance with regulation, and gather specific information about products and services. Mystery shoppers, as anonymous identities, are paid to perform specific tasks such as purchasing a product, asking questions, registering complaints, or behaving in a certain way, carries out these tasks then provide detailed reports or feedback about their experiences. It is ideally suited for retail businesses like fashion retail establishments that wish to test their front-line sales force service or product satisfaction. Food and beverage industries use mystery shopping research to measure the service quality of their staff.