Conducting Market Research for Your Small Business

Sharon Boyd has nearly 25 years of experience between both the healthcare and marketing industries. In addition to being an RDH and content writing expert, she also holds a degree in business. Her responsibilities primarily include tackling the communication barriers between small business owners or healthcare providers and their prospective clientele.

Conducting Market Research for Your Small Business

Market research will help you make smart data-based decisions that propel your business in the right direction. Proper market research is all about gathering information that helps you better understand your customer base and trends in your industry that give insight into what the future holds.

This research is important to the success of your business’ future. But the question most small business owners have is, “how do you conduct market research in the first place?

Primary vs. Secondary

There are two main types of research you can do. One is called primary research. This is when you do things like survey your customers or analyze your sales data to look for patterns. You can learn a lot simply by combing through the results you have gathered so far.

Secondary research is when you evaluate information compiled by other entities and let the results influence your business decisions.

Most businesses small and large incorporate elements of both primary and secondary research in their marketing research.

How to Conduct Your Own Primary Market Research

One of the very first things you should always do is get familiar with your target customer base. You need to understand consumer behavior, motivation, finances, education, culture, employment, psychology, and societal influences before you can release a product or service.

The underlying question is this: why do people want or need the product or service you have?

Considering this question and how it relates to your target customer base will have a major impact on the kinds of products you choose to put on the market.

Survey your customers to learn more about them and about what they’d like to see you do for them. Identify the need and consider where you can make changes to fill it.

If you need to hire outside help to analyze your sales data or help you organize a survey campaign, don’t hesitate to do. Market research isn’t exactly cheap, but when you know what you need to find out to reach your goal, it’s worth the investment.

Conducting Secondary Market Research

Secondary research is all about keeping an eye on trends in the economy and your industry. Here, too, is another good area that’s worth investing in. You won’t regret paying for a subscription to trade publications or a trade group. These resources are rich in carefully curated information that is all highly relevant to your field of business.

Blend the two methods of primary and secondary research by piggy-backing on the marketing techniques and research of your competitors. They aren’t likely to deliberately share their secrets with you, but if you pay close attention, you can pick up some valuable information.

For example, you may discover that you don’t need to drop your prices to stay competitive. Instead, you just need to offer something that your competitors can’t. If you can identify their weakness or a customer base that they’re overlooking, you can open up a new and rewarding market for your company.

Market research is worth all of the time and effort you can afford to put into it!