Building a business becomes a whole lot easier if we read our customers’ minds. Being able to create new products, features, and pricing that speaks directly to their needs exponentially simplify our jobs.
Brands need a way to learn about what their audience wants, how they can earn their business, and how they can keep customers loyal to their brand over time. In the past, brands had to either induct a full-fledged market research team in-house or engage external consultants with skills ranging from software operators, market research experts, email sending experts, data analysts and respondent sample buyers, etc.
However, a recent DIY market research trend has set the industry on fire. This allows brands to keep a quick pulse on consumer trends, test ideas, get feedback using simple online interfaces and tools. DIY market research is a dramatic shift from old softwares’ and market research procedures which were also very expensive.
In this article, you’ll learn everything about how SMBs/Brands can run their DIY market research programs and get insights to make business decisions—without requiring the need to hire specialists.
Effective market research can be divided into three steps:
Knowing when you need market research, understanding what type of market research is important to your business, and scoping out your project ahead of time will ensure you stay on track and deliver actionable results. Before moving ahead, SMB’s need to finalize questions they are looking for answers to – What can we improve in the existing products? What do customers like in the competitive product? What new products should we launch? What is trending in the market etc.
Pricing is one of the largest factors in why consumers may leave your product for the competition. While you want to maximize your profit per unit sold, to maintain regular business, you need to be aware of what your competitors are doing and stay competitive.
Once the scope of the project is finalized, the next step is to utilize a good combination of platforms to research data.
Collecting Market Research Data
Market research is a broad term that encompasses several different types of information gathering. Collecting data for your research is a multi-faceted task. Fortunately, with all of the technology we have, this is becoming a less painful task than ever before.
Once you have a plan, it’s time to determine the type of research you need. There are two types of DIY market research that you will want to focus on.
⇒ Primary research
Primary research involves conducting your own research about products and services that you plan to offer. The main distinguishing factor is that the research hasn’t been conducted before.
There are two ways to approach primary research: Quantitative and Qualitative research -can be done individually or in sequentially to get broader and deeper insights.
→ Qualitative research uses a smaller sample size- usually anywhere from 5 to 20, but takes a more direct route and helps you figure out specifics. It typically dives into a particular topic to understand the subjects’ experiences, thoughts, and opinions in detail through in-depth customer interviews. These conversations are then analyzed by a market researcher to look out for the key findings. Qualitative research is typically done to get an overview and lay of the customer’s preferences. Tools like Userinterviews.com or UserTesting.com can help recruit and conduct qualitative research quickly.
A focus group is also a great option if you would like to know how a product could be improved. Focus groups may require large incentives but are a great way to get direct feedback on a product.
Qualitative research is typically very time consuming and expensive. Bewgle, by analyzing customer conversations, can provide the depth of information about customer preferences for a much larger sample size at a fraction of the cost. Bewgle can help analyze qualitative research transcripts to understand not just the key topics in the conversation but also the sentiment expressed to understand the top of mind features and their satisfaction with customers.
→ Quantitative research is the process of gathering structured, numerical data and using statistical analysis -anything from simple averages to predictive analytics. Quantitative research is typically done via surveying the target customer segment with a series of questions and free text boxes to get specific feedback.
There are many tools like Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey and Google Surveys to get quick responses from a panel of audience. Qualtrics also enables quick analysis of structured data. However, using Bewgle we can analyze not just structured data, but also correlate the customer responses in free textboxes to identify key attributes not in the line of sight of the Brand.
⇒ Secondary research
Secondary research is the gathering, consolidation, and summarization of data and research that already exists. Data that can be used to create benchmarks and understand the competition.
Based on the questions Brands are looking to get answered, there are a variety of secondary sources of data to refer to. To understand customer demand online, Google trends is a great free source to use, where the volume of searches is akin to the customer interest. For more eCommerce marketplace specific data for e.g. for Amazon, JungleScout and MerchantWords are excellent platforms, however, the information is limited to Amazon only. To understand the reasons behind a product’s popularity or failure, Bewgle analyzes reviews and provides deep insights on the drivers of satisfaction and areas of improvement.
There is a ton of information to be found so narrowing down your search will save you time and money. Once you have an idea of the information about your product market, you are ready to start the research. SMB’s can conduct specific market research using Bewgle, it can help you analyze and give you in-depth insights into the products or category.
It is advisable that conducting secondary research first can help give you the background information that will allow you to create a more targeted primary research project that produces better data.
⇒ Competitive analysis
Competitive analysis is the process of researching, observing, and digging into what your competitors are doing in a certain area of their business—and why they’re doing it. Including competitor analysis within your overall approach to market research is non-negotiable. While you definitely can generate some incredible insights from your target audience, this information will become much more valuable when wrapped in the context of your competition, and your industry.
Your customers and competition are constantly evolving in a number of ways. To keep up with these changes, the use of emergent technology is essential. Companies have begun to adopt AI tools that collect, organize, and present data to extract actionable insights from their competitor’s products or services. Products like SimilarWeb can help understand the traffic and demand of your competitor’s products.
Bewgle driven competitive analysis exposes opportunities with contextual and visual insights, that can help you make better decisions for your business. Bewgle has the capability to collect data of your competitors from various sources in real-time. These AI-driven tools also automatically and instantly interpret this data as it comes in, much quicker and more efficiently. To be more accurate, you need to understand the sentiments of your competitors’ customer data. Sentiment analysis is extremely useful as it allows you to gain an overview of the wider public opinion behind certain topics. Bewgle can also pick up on the subtext of a given piece of information, and automatically make adjustments in its organizing and reporting of data.
Analyzing and Taking Action
The most important aspect of DIY market research is acting on it. Before you start diving into your results, you’ll want to make sure that you’re working with a complete, clean dataset. How you summarize and visualize your results is important for understanding and communicating your findings. People generally visualize data with charts, graphs, or infographics as they are more enjoyable to read than data written out in a sentence or presented in a table. In order to get people on board, you have to make sure your recommendations are realistic and aligned to the overall business strategy. Strategic recommendations should be Focused, Specific, Attainable, and Measurable.
One of the best ways to ensure your recommendations are implemented is to hold your team and stakeholders accountable with follow-up. As you continue to do more market research, keeping stakeholders involved will improve the effectiveness and actionability of your research.
Market research is not a one-time activity. There has to be an investment in tools and processes to continuously track things like market trends, consumer perceptions, brand awareness, and competitive intelligence that can provide valuable indicators that companies need to adapt to.
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