A consumer sees an ad for a product that seems perfect for them and rejoices over their luck, but this scenario likely didn’t (and shouldn’t) come down to luck. Companies make these scenarios possible through strategic market research. Equipped with valuable information about its target market, a company can develop products and create marketing campaigns that appeal directly to consumers. And the benefits don’t stop there. You can leverage the data procured through market research to propel your company to success in a variety of ways.

We’ll break down the basics of market research below to show how companies use it and explore some of the key benefits. If you’re not taking full advantage of market research to make data-driven decisions, you should start considering the ways it could help your company grow.

What Is Market Research in Business?

Market research involves gathering data to learn more about target demographics and consumers so a business can market itself more effectively and, ultimately, succeed in the market. Market research is a vital part of any business strategy, whether that business is B2B or B2C, big or small, new or old. It provides the answers companies need to make decisions that will move them forward instead of back by empowering them to base decisions on data.

Most companies know what market research is and acknowledge its importance in a general sense, but they may not realize just how crucial market research is to the success of their business. When you need to identify market trends, understand your core customer better, or achieve a long list of other important goals, market research is the answer. This is the best affiliate marketing management system.

Types of Market Research

Market research is a broad category. In fact, there are many varieties of market research that you can use to meet the specific goals of your business. Below, we’ll explore the different benefits of each type of market research.

  • Brand research: Brand research is focused on creating or refining your company brand to make a bold and favorable impression on your target market. You could look into the level of brand awareness among your target audience, how loyal customers are to your brand, what sorts of qualities people associate with your brand, and other aspects of customers’ relationship with your brand.
  • Marketing campaign evaluation: Some market research focuses specifically on marketing campaign effectiveness. You can evaluate how many people have seen your online ads and what the click-through rate has been, for example. This type of information can help you make adjustments if needed and inform future campaigns so you reach consumers effectively and keep customer-acquisition costs down.
  • Competitor research: Competitor research focuses on the competition to help you gain insights into how your company can pull ahead. Looking into a competitor’s marketing campaigns, brand reputation, revenue or sales volume, and other important data points can help you learn from their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Customer segmentation research: An important type of market research, especially for new businesses, is customer segmentation. These studies divide your larger consumer base into different groups or personas. Understanding the different types of consumers you want to connect with can help you create individualized campaigns tailored for each group.
  • Consumer research: Nearly all market research involves the consumer in some fashion, but some research is focused specifically on understanding consumers within a certain segment better. You may want to learn about their purchasing habits, interests, motivations, and more. The better you understand your consumers, the more effectively you can appeal to them.
  • Product development: Developing products calls for market research first to ensure the concept has value and then to refine the product over time. For example, you may see sales dipping on a flagship product and discover that customers’ needs have shifted and this product should offer a new feature to be more useful or convenient.
  • Usability testing: Similar to product development research, usability testing is focused on products. However, the focus here is on how consumers use your product. You may release a beta version of your mobile app, for example, and get feedback from users to find out if there are any bugs or other problems you need to work out.

The Benefits of Market Research

Market research can deliver valuable benefits to companies like yours. Let’s look at some of the most impactful ways market research can empower your company to succeed.

1. Maintain a Customer-Centric Approach

Market research is all about understanding your consumer base better, and that is an essential step to creating a customer-centric business. Customer-centric companies keep the customer experience at the forefront of all they do. Research has shown that customer-centric businesses are 60% more profitable. It’s easy to see why prioritizing the customer’s needs and desires is a recipe for success.

Market research is how you come to understand those needs and desires in the first place, along with other important aspects of your target customers. You can’t effectively build a customer-centric business unless you understand your customers. Conducting market research allows you to appeal more specifically to your customers’ pain points and preferences. It’s a win-win for your customers and your business.

One of the most effective ways to be customer-centric in your market research is by using a segmentation-targeting-positioning (STP) model. This marketing model involves:

  • Segmentation: Brainstorm the possible segments your product or service may appeal to. These segments can be defined geographically, demographically, or otherwise.
  • Targeting: Determine which segment or segments offer the most profitable opportunities for your company so you can focus on marketing to these segments.
  • Positioning: Develop a strategy for addressing your target segment’s needs and do it better than your competitors. You can also consider the best way to promote your solution to the target segment.

2. Connect With Your Audience More Effectively

When you understand your target customers better, that means you’ll be able to more effectively reach them. When it comes to your marketing campaign, you don’t want to waste time and money on trial and error — you want to have an informed marketing strategy. There are two main elements of effectively connecting with your audience: the marketing channels you use and the content you share.

Using a one-size-fits-all approach, regardless of your audience, can be a costly mistake when it comes to marketing channels. The print publications your audience reads, the television shows they watch, and the websites they spend time on can dramatically differ from those of the target audience for your last product.

For instance, you can reach close to half of the urban population by advertising or marketing on Instagram, but you’ll only reach approximately a fifth of the rural population this way. So advertising your farm equipment on Instagram is likely a poor choice.

Choosing the right marketing channels is an important first step to reach your audience, but to truly connect with them, you also need to tailor the content of your marketing materials. Everything from the features of your product you advertise to the tone and visuals you use should be crafted to speak to your target audience. When customers feel you’re “speaking their language,” they’re more likely to pay attention to what you have to say.

3. Identify Opportunities for Growth

Market research isn’t just an important step for new companies or companies launching new products. Conducting market research periodically can help you discover new opportunities to improve and grow. For example, you may discover:

  • Unreached segments: You may come across unreached segments that, like your current customers, could benefit from your products or services. Perhaps they just don’t know about your brand yet, or they think your products are intended for someone else. This segment could be consumers of a different age, gender, income level, or geographical region, for example. A simple modification in your product or marketing strategy may be all it takes to unlock a whole new customer base.
  • Business partnerships: Through market research, you may also discover opportunities to partner with other businesses that already have an established connection with your target audience. Joint promotions can be mutually beneficial for you and the partner company. Essentially, you can combine the power of both your brands to expand and strengthen your reach.
  • Product improvements: Market research can reveal possible shortcomings in your product or services that, if remedied, would allow you to appeal to more customers and improve customer satisfaction. You may also discover opportunities for add-ons, product bundles, or other upsells that appeal to customers’ preferences and help you increase profits.
Jamie Notter