01 Oct 2013

RESEARCH TIPS FROM A DATA GEEK – Market Research Helps You Anticipate Your Customers’ Needs

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What is Market Research?

Market Research is the process of gathering and analyzing data in order to predict what people will do, what people like, and what they want. This research is conducted in a variety of ways, which include customer surveys, focus groups, and analyzing big data. By asking the right questions and making the correct predictions, businesses greatly increase their understanding of their customers, leading to greater customer satisfaction and, hopefully, more profits!

How Market Research Helps Businesses Do Better

Let’s say your company makes a product, call it a Wooper, and it is selling well in Store A and not selling well in Store B. You can survey the customers from Store A to see why they purchased your item. A survey is an organized way to ask a random assortment of people the same questions in the same way.  Because a survey takes this consistent approach, it can help you test your assumptions and see if they pass a reality check. Good survey design starts with a hypothesis, or an educated guess, about what is true.

For instance, when determining why people in Store A purchased more Woopers, you might predict it was because of the large display or because of the type of customer who shops in Store A. Was it because there was a huge display that attracted them? Is the average customer at Store A different from the average customer at Store B? Then you can survey the people in Store B to see why they didn’t purchase the Wooper.

Once you have surveyed the customers, you can compare the data from Store A and Store B to find out the similarities and differences between the customers and their buying decisions; then you can make changes to Store B to either make the Wooper more attractive to Store B customers or to attract the people more likely to purchase a Wooper.

It’s as simple as this: when you know what your customers want and need, you can give it to them. That’s what we like to call a win-win situation.

Other Types of Market Research

Customer surveys are not the only way to find out more about your clients and their habits. You can also use focus groups (small groups of people who share their opinions and experiences with each other), data mining your client list, checking out what people say about your company on Facebook or Twitter. The research method you use will be driven by what you need to know. We’ll talk more about other methods in future posts.

Are you already doing Market Research?

Do your patrons fill out a customer satisfaction form? That’s market research. Do you talk to your clients about what they like and do? That’s market research. Do you keep track of your customers’ zip codes? You can use all these methods, and more, to help predict what your clients want.

In the next RESEARCH TIPS FROM A DATA GEEK, we’re going to talk about Quantitative (large group) and Qualitative (small group) research methods, as well as measures that combine both methods for deeper understanding.

Are you already doing market research? What’s working for you, and what could be improved?

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