So, you have that awesome fantastic business idea but everyone keeps telling you to do “market research”? Or you’re already up and running but know that you could do so much more if only you had more data? Whether it’s data about your customers or insights into your industry/market sector, market research can be the difference between sustainable profits and unexplainable failure! Still don’t trust data or think “market research” is not necessary once you have a gut feel? Consider these points:
- Mistakes are expensive. Every business decision is a risk but wrong decisions can be very costly in terms of time, manpower, and cash. No matter what you may *think* you know, accurate data will always reduce your chances of making mistakes.
- See your blind spots. You don’t want to be the company that’s focusing on a tree while the forest is behind you. Marketing intelligence enables you to utilize your finite resources efficiently thereby ensuring that competitors don’t steal your lunch.
- Stay ahead of the game. Research can capture emerging trends and behaviours that can be capitalized on for profit. Knowing how many Nigerians download apps in the Google store may help you plan sales for your business through an app.
AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERGERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images
Okay, convinced but no idea how to even start? While robust and comprehensive research is best left to the professionals (ahem, contact us we’d love to help!), here are 5 simple tips to help you start off with no hassle.
- Start With The End. Before you start anything think about what you are hoping to get out of it – what will you use the data for? Write down 1 or 2 actions or strategies that you would like to come out as a result of the research collected (seriously, write them down right now!). Try not to be vague, but be specific about what data will be used for. Example: I want know what people don’t like about their local supermarket so I can offer better products/services.
- Ask Good Questions. No, really -ask really really good questions. Research is only as good as the questions that are actually asked and the saying “garbage in garbage out” is practically the golden rule of research. Think long and hard about the questions and make sure they are as clear, short, and unambiguous as possible. One common mistake is to lead the responder which is a sure fire way to rubbish your results. Example: “Don’t you think this packaging is just too distracting?” People don’t like disagreeing, it’s just too much work.”
- Choose A Platform. These days there are many ways to collect information. Google forms is probably a good place to start but this is also Nigeria so don’t forget the tried and true method of simply printing out forms and asking people to fill them out for you. Yes, many people are online, but remember your target audience may not be or you may not want 100% of your response to be from social media addicts for example. Use a platform or combination of platforms that capture the whole range of who your target audience could be.
- Use Your Network. This doesn’t mean ask everyone you know to fill your survey. That would also result in a bias in selection. The goal is to reach a diverse set of naturally occurring individuals. Ask friends to ask friends and those friends to ask other friends, use social media to reach strangers, use online forums, etc., to try and fan out your response to as many people from different circles as possible. Encourage sharing.
- Be Open Minded. So you’ve collected all this information, how do you make sense out of it? Remember to listen to what people are saying without trying to interpret what you think they mean, and don’t fill in the gaps of what they have not said. Data is not subjective or emotional, it is just what it is. If there are one or two questions that seem confusing or unlikely, don’t be afraid to call one or two people up to discuss and clarify.
Still a little confused? We are always ready to help your business grow. Contact us and one of our expert analysts will start you off on the road to accurate & reliable data. Go on!