Market research is the collection and analysis of information about markets, organisations and people to support better business decisions. In today’s competitive business environment, the more knowledge a business has about its customers, the more likely it is to succeed.
Market research works because, by talking to a relatively small number of people, it is possible to find out about a far larger number. However, it only works if the people who are interviewed (the sample) are a representative subgroup of the total group of interest (the universe). The universe might be, for example, the population as a whole, parents, car drivers, finance directors, IT managers or supermarket buyers.
Provided a representative sample is identified and, critically, the right questions are asked, market research can deliver significant profit from knowledge. When planning a sales initiative or programme, it can provide vital intelligence on specific targets, their attitudes and buying patterns.
In addition, it can minimise potential risk and avoid wasting both time and money.
More specifically, businesses can use market research in the following ways:
- A key benefit of market research is to help businesses better understand their customers. Through ‘usage’ and ‘attitude studies,’ organisations are able to assess a range of intangibles – such as the level of contentment among customers or individual preferences – thereby helping to secure customer loyalty. As a result, businesses can more effectively target resources at particular groups or better understand their purchasing patterns.
- In addition, market research can help in the development of new products and services. Product development research is widespread and enables businesses to identify the most lucrative areas for a new product or service. It can also help to determine the most appropriate and profitable launch programme, as well as ongoing activity to support the sales effort such as advertising, marketing, promotions and PR.
- Internally, market research can be used to learn about and monitor satisfaction and morale amongst the team. It can help to improve internal communications, identify areas of dissatisfaction and highlight internal activities and initiatives which could help to boost individual and team performance.
- Effective market research can also help businesses to gain an understanding of the competition. By embarking on competitor analysis, usually based on desk research, organisations are able to examine the strengths and weaknesses of their main rivals and emerging, smaller competitors. As a result they can learn from other mistakes – or successes – and target new markets or business opportunities.
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- It was a great piece of work which confirms feelings we have had about the business and this data is invaluable in substantiating this information. This evidence will help EOS improve and make precise business decisions for the future.Electrical Oil Services Ltd (EOS)
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