Essential steps in market research
When companies want to learn more about their target market or their competitors they tend to do market research. There are different types of research that companies can do, however, there are several steps that they need to take for each type.
Before a company gets to learn about the way that the target audience is making purchasing decisions, it first needs to understand who the target audience is. This is where a buyer persona can be very helpful and the term itself refers to fictionalized and generalized representations of the ideal customers the business wants to market to. Creating a buyer persona helps companies visualize the target audience, which can then inform every business operation and strategy, as well as streamline every communication.
Some key characteristics that companies should always include when developing a buyer persona include the age, gender, location, income, family size, as well as major pain points for the target audience. The goal behind creating a buyer persona is to use that outline as a guide for the best way for the company to reach the target audience as well as learn about the real audience members in the market.
Once a company has defined its buyer persona, which often ends up being multiple different buyer personas, it’s time to use all of that information to identify a segment of the target audience that’s going to be engaged during the market research process. This segment of the target audience should be a representative sample of the overall audience so that the company can better understand who these people are, their buying habits, and the challenges they face.
This audience segment that a business identifies should also be made up of people that have recently made a purchase from the business or decided not to make one for a specific reason. The best way for companies to figure out which people are going to be the right ones to engage with for market research purposes is by focusing on the consumers that have the same characteristics as the company’s buyer persona outline.
Next, the best way for companies to ensure that they’re getting the most out of their market research process is to prepare beforehand. To do that, companies should be creating a discussion guide or a list of questions that are going to be posed to the people participating in the market research. It’s important to remember that the process should involve a natural and conversational discussion, and not a script. That means the discussion outline and questions that are prepared beforehand should include open-ended questions for everything the company wants to learn.
Companies also need to identify any market competitors whose solutions tend to overlap with their own to better determine which market the business is going to pursue. To do that, companies should figure out an industry term that they identify with, and then use that term to create a list of brands and corporations that also belong to the same industry. The most relevant companies from that list are the main competitors that a business has and should be watched carefully for different strategies and ways that they connect with the target audience to learn from and improve upon to cater to the consumers.