There are many types of market research activities that can be undertaken when looking to better understand a brand, product or service. Market research should be a company’s first step in developing and executing strategies to grow its business. Well-planned market research will allow you to understand your market, identify opportunities for growth or new markets, as well as any risks involved. This article will explore some of the market research activities that can be undertaken when looking to better understand a brand, product or service.
Competitor analysis is a market research activity that takes a look at the market and attempts to identify, analyse and evaluate your competitors. This can be useful for understanding what is considered strengths or weaknesses in a market. A market analysis is one activity often used within a competitor analysis as this looks into an industry’s overall performance. This is useful as it will provide context to how a certain brand performs against others and within the benchmarks set out in the market analysis. A competitor analysis looks at a wide range of metrics including financial, brand positioning, product and service offering, proposition, USPs, threats, weaknesses, audience acquisition and retention and many more.
Target audience research
Target audience research is another market research activity. This type of primary and secondary research aims to identify and understand the needs that your audience is looking for in a service or product.
Best practice benchmarking
Best practice benchmarking is a process through which exception examples of specific activities can be identified. These benchmarks can be drawn from any industry or sector. The core driver here is to look for examples that a brand can learn from and apply to their own industry.
Analysing an audiences’ expectations from a brand can be useful as it helps you deliver what they want; this means you are less likely to lose them to competitors who might provide better service or a more desirable product.
Types of market research activity
The market research process is a mix of both qualitative and quantitative evaluation. Qualitative market research can take the form of focus groups, in-depth interviews and market ethnographies to uncover insights that are hidden or unarticulated by customers. Quantitative market research often includes customer surveys, polls and questionnaires which measure business performance through more structured means. Some key activities are listed below:
Market research workshops
Market research workshops are an excellent way to involve key stakeholders in both understandings and shaping the market research process. They are a useful tool for identifying what types of information is required, who might want it, how they might gather it and how it can be used to improve the business through which they are commissioned.
Surveys and polls
A market research survey is a device for gathering information from a wide range of participants in order to measure attitudes, behaviours or experiences. A market research poll is the same thing but can also be used as a more general method of asking people which they prefer out of two things.
Focus groups are a useful tool for testing a theory or solution to a previously identified problem. For example, if a brand wanted to find out how people felt about a proposed logo for their brand, they would arrange a focus group where participants discuss and provide direct feedback. Focus groups can also be used to test market research questions, which are then adjusted based on the responses. Another benefit of focus groups is that they can be useful for gathering opinions from people who share particular demographics. For example, a group of young mothers may answer different questions than middle-aged fathers. This information is often presented as qualitative data and can help to shape specific product offerings.
Key stakeholder interviews can be used to gain insight into their roles and interactions with a brand, product or service. These interviews can take place with employees, managers and customers of a given company to find out what they want from the business in terms of products or services. Stakeholder interviews are a particularly focused method of market research and the participants should be carefully chosen. Key stakeholders that traditionally make good interviewees are directors of people with significant influence over decision making within their respective businesses. The stakeholders may be encouraged to provide opinions on products or services as well, which can help a company shape new ideas for the market. This is particularly useful when there is uncertainty about how to progress with existing offerings.
If your business would benefit from a new approach to strategic development, please get in touch and we will be happy to advise on the best route forward. We recommend that a strategic audit is undertaken before starting new strategic work to ensure it uses a solid evidence base.