Before starting a business it’s a very unwise thing to do to make assumptions about customers, marketing, value of your business idea, competitors and also how things are done .
To make effective decisions that will grow your business and use your resources wisely, you will need to put some of those resources toward conducting market and marketing research.
Market and Marketing research (explained).
Market research is an organized effort to gather information about target markets and customers: know about them, starting with who they are. It is a very important component of business strategy and a major factor in maintaining competitiveness(Wikipedia).
What makes marketing research broader is that it covers the whole process or marketing effort.
Why you should do marketing research.
Lower your risk. Concrete data keeps you focused on the real opportunities and helps you avoid unproductive effort. When you understand your customers, you can use your resources to reach them more effectively, with less risk of wasting time, money, and effort on marketing initiatives that don’t work. Market research also helps you identify low-risk, high-reward areas where your company can expand or offer new services.
Improve communication. It drives your communication not only with your current customer base but with target prospects as well. Market research shows you where your customers can be reached, as well as what language will be most effective in attracting their attention and resonating with them on an emotional level.
Identify opportunity. Market research helps you identify both high-level and more accessible opportunities for reaching and converting new customers. It can be the best way to discover new platforms for advertising, consumer concerns you were unaware of, and gaps within your market that you can fill.
In addition to all these marketing research helps you learn not just what your customers want, but how successful your business is at reaching and connecting with them.
How to conduct marketing research.
Understand the problem. Start by identifying the focus of your research. Knowing what question you are trying to answer will help you structure your research effectively.
Plan for data analysis. Decide how you will analyze your data. Will you need quantitative data for statistical analysis or qualitative, observational data to give you a broad picture? Will you use software or do it by hand? Take time to learn about various methods of analysis to find the one that will best answer your research question.
Data gathering. Once you know what question you want to answer and have designed a research method to answer it within the constraints of your available budget and time, it’s time to collect data. Many businesses work with professional firms or consultants to conduct their actual research.
Budgeting and timeframe. How much can you afford to spend on the research process? How soon will you need to have data collection completed? Like all the strategies that you use to grow your business, research should be conducted within your available resources. However, depending on the urgency of the questions you are answering, it may be worth spending more money to get the most comprehensive results possible.
Decide a sampling method. How will you select the participants for your research? You may need a random sampling from the general population of consumers, a group that all have a single lifestyle factor in common, or responses only from people who are already your customers. Create a plan for identifying and contacting your participants.
Report. The final step of the research process is drafting a report on your findings. Your report should outline the entire research process, from developing your problem statement to the results of your data analysis.