How to Carry Out Market Research

Effective market research can help you to figure out whether there is demand for your product or service, and can also help you to identify the right target demographics (which can sometimes be different to what you originally expect), as well as which stores to place them in, and how to market the product.  Whether you’re doing pharma market research or trying to promote a TV show, asking the right questions and interpreting the data you get back correctly is the key to success:

Finding a Research Partner

If you’re launching a new business on a shoestring, then you’ll probably end up doing most of your market research by yourself.  However, once you’re fully up and running, you may find that you don’t have the time or resources to do market research efficiently in-house.  Finding a market research specialist that works within your vertical is a good idea.

There are some general market research companies out there, and they can work if you just want help running surveys or focus groups, however for specialist market knowledge, hiring a pharma market research company or an industry expert is a  better choice. If it’s secondary research you’re interested in, rather than information about attitudes to one of your existing products, then they may already have the data prepared and up for sale.

Researching Yourself – Mystery Shopping

Following market trends is important, but if you’re convinced that you’ve found a gap in the market, but you’re not seeing the demand you expected, then maybe you’re looking in the wrong direction.  Don’t focus all of your research efforts on “the industry”.  It’s always a good idea to spend a little time looking at what your own company is doing.  Mystery shopping, sample orders, and quality testing are just as important as surveys and infographics.

Don’t make the mistake of focusing on a list of things that you think consumers want when you’re doing quality checks and mystery shopping.  Some companies waste resources sending mystery shoppers to fill out a checklist of items such as “Were you asked about a loyalty card? Did you get offered insurance?”, but that endless list of questions is precisely why the store is empty.  Let the shoppers go in with an open mind, and then ask them what they liked and disliked about the experiece.

Competitors and Colleagues

It’s all too easy to get so absorbed in your way of doing things that you let the rest of the market pass you by.  One way to prevent this is to hire someone to mystery shop your competitors, and take notes on what they’re doing.  In addition to shopping with your immediate competitors, why not visit some companies that trade within your niche, but aren’t direct competitors – either because they’re trading in a different geographic area, or aiming at a different segment of the market.  Keep an open mind to the things they’re doing, and look at how you can use their ideas within your niche.

You might be surprised at how open other companies are to answering questions and offering help – as long as you’re willing to reciprocate.

This guest post was brought to you by James Harper on behalf of Hall and Partners, specialists in innovating pharma market research. Find out more by following them on Twitter.