The truth is that avoiding costly mistakes and making better decisions for your business doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Instead, your small or medium-sized business (SMB) can analyze industry data and benefit significantly from it through market research. With the information research can provide, you can make decisions based on facts and the realities of the marketplace.
Consider this: With business intelligence, you can navigate your market and pursue high-revenue opportunities faster and more accurately than ever before. It would be as if you’d installed a GPS in your car and therefore knew the quickest route to your final destination.
Owners of SMBs know that financial stability is almost always on the line. The proper market research can help reduce risk and cut down on errors that could destabilize your business. Further, it can improve your overall business strategy, which in turn can help set you up for long-term success.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the benefits of market research for SMBs.
If you’ve ever found yourself confused and have asked, “What is market research used for?” consider these five advantages of market research below.
Your best defense is offense
If you do your market research correctly, you have the opportunity to innovate. With the correct information, you can potentially stay ahead of your competition by predicting market trends. If you analyze the data and interpret it correctly, you can quickly become a leading competitor in your industry. At the very least, your business competitors will view you as a threat — as they should.
Identify untouched markets
Many companies make the mistake of doing “just enough” research to understand their primary audience. However, the truth is that many companies offer a service or a product that could potentially fit other groups of people. When you continue to do market research, you can identify new markets and potentially tap into a demand that you would never have considered otherwise. While you may continue to focus on one primary group of customers, it’s wise to know where you can expand later.
Learn lessons from your competition
Market-research tools can uncover intelligence gleaned from your competitor’s social-media accounts and far more. Once you know what your competition is doing in terms of their marketing, advertising, and sales, you can adopt a similar approach. (That is, if you know it’s working for them.)
You can also determine what your competition has tried in the past. If they’re no longer employing a specific method, there’s a good chance they stopped because it wasn’t working for them. By studying your competitors’ mistakes, you can likely save yourself both time and money.
Make your marketing and branding better
One of the biggest benefits of marketing research is learning what your target customers think about you and your brand. That research can provide you with the opportunity to dig deep into their psyche and learn what motivates them, what makes them afraid, what makes them worried, and what gives them hope.
That might sound like a bunch of psychological mumbo jumbo. Still, the truth is that when you have a grasp of these factors, you can communicate with your target audience effectively and make them want to listen to you. Even subtle shifts in your messaging can profoundly impact the relationship you have with your customers.
Be confident in the decisions you make
With market intelligence, you have a way to qualify decisions and estimate potential impact before you make a move. While it doesn’t eliminate risk, it does reduce it. Market research gives you an advantage by allowing you to gain insight into markets before you decide to pursue them. You can test out ideas and plan with greater efficiency and overall confidence.
As with most things in business, it pays to have a plan and a process. Systems keep things from going way off-track. There are many market-research tools you could use, and there is an almost unfathomable amount of information out there.
What that means is that it’s super easy to find yourself behaving like Alice in Wonderland and following a rabbit down its hole. The problem is that there are many rabbits and many holes. Not all of them are helpful when it comes to achieving your goals.
However, if you keep in mind the following best practices, you’ll go far in keeping yourself focused. Below, you’ll be able to acquire relevant, helpful information on time and within your budget.
Know your goals
Whether you want to know how to market a particular product or service or explore opportunities in new markets, you need to have a clear set of goals before jumping into market research. Understanding what kind of information you need before you ever start using a market-research tool will keep you from wasting time and money.
Don’t be in a rush
Take your time and don’t be in a hurry. The best time to do market research is when you don’t “need” to do market research. When you do engage in it, go slow and be as systematic as possible.
Analyze your findings
Don’t take everything at face value. Dig deep and study the information you’ve gathered. You’d be surprised how many times insights seem to jump out at you after poring over data for the third, fourth, or hundredth time. Just be sure you compare your findings to the concerns and questions you’ve asked that are related to your end goals.
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