Market research is expensive and time consuming. It is, however, fundamental to any marketing process and can make a big difference in the success of your marketing plan. Unfortunately, market research is frequently one of the first things people cut from their marketing budget.
It doesn’t have to be expensive if you do it yourself (DIY) and you know what to search for. Below is a five step blueprint with helpful tips to get you through each part of the job.
1. Define The Problem
Before beginning your marketing research, you need to define what the problem is you’re trying to figure out. In this first phase of the process, you need to establish your research objectives. By developing questions that lead to clearly define the problem you are investigating will be very helpful during this phase.
2. Develop Your Research Plan
Once you know what the problem is you’re addressing, it’s time to develop and design the research plan. There are many methods you can incorporate in your research plan. To keep your costs down, consider the following techniques for conducting your research:
- Interview prospects and customers. This may be a bit intimidating at first, but it will start to become second nature to you. The best feedback is received by using this tactic. Nothing gives you the information you’re looking for like going straight to the source.
- Conduct a survey. There are several online tools for this, that work really well and are economical to use.
- Run tests on your website. You can learn a lot from simple testing and reviewing your analytics such as Google’s or other analytics. Simple A/B tests can go a long way, depending on the issue you are investigating.
- Research online. The basic takeaway of just going with your standard Google search is to ensure that whatever sources you’re using are credible. Be careful, you can’t believe everything you read online.
3. Collect Relevant Data And Information
Make sure that the data you collect is valid and unbiased. Use a mixture of the methods mentioned above to get relevant data from all angles. The ideal type of information to gather would be analytical as well as scientific, emotional data are also valuable. It is something that you cannot get from looking at a graph. In our experience, personal interviews can give you a lot of the insight into what you’re looking for.
4. Analyze Data And Report Findings
Once you’ve gathered the information, it’s time to interpret the data. When doing this, it’s important to look for trends as opposed to specific pieces of information. When you are analyzing your data, be open minded. Don’t try to find patterns based on your previous assumptions, prior to collecting the data. It’s okay if your initial hypothesis is wrong. That’s why you do the testing and don’t go with assumptions. Just make sure you don’t twist the results to show that you were right all along if you weren’t. This is not ethical and won’t lead to any beneficial outcome.
5. Write Your Report and Take Action
Congratulations! Your research is complete. It’s time to present your findings and to take action. Start developing marketing campaigns. Put your findings to the test and get going! The big takeaway here is that although this round of research is complete, it’s not over. Your research should never be over. You should always be analyzing your data on a regular basis to see where you can improve. Trends can change over time. Just because you found a pattern doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way forever. Always be doing your research. The more you know about your buyer personas, the market, industry, and companies involved, the more successful your marketing efforts will be.
Some people include additional steps in the marketing research process, but these five core steps are all that you need to get you started.