Clicky
Market Research Overview
3 April 2017

How to conduct a market research

Market research: what do we know about it? Do we exactly know what it is?

This is the purpose of my post. I would like to try to clarify a bit about the process on which I founded my profession which has still today, after so many years, some shades that amaze me.

Let’s set the starting point: market research and market research are not the same thing. The first surveys aim to identify all the aspects that can make the difference when you need to make choices about products, to the effectiveness of their advertising, distribution, positioning. While the second ones are surveys that aim to collect and analyze data relating to marketing, such as consumer behaviors and habits which are essential for those who need to decide marketing strategies.

How to conduct a market research

The answer is absolutely simple and intuitive: because it is essential for entering into the market by understanding the inside mechanisms and, especially to increase revenue.

You cannot increase sales by walking blindly into a faster and highly challenging market, you cannot expect to be credible in the eyes of the consumer if you are not prepared and competitive. You need to be competitive if you want to beat the competition and you need to know the market if you want to be competitive.

Taking advantage of the large market research power will make us have a picture of what the consumer prefers, what he loves and what he does not like. This allows us to extend the company’s audience and to position it much more competitively among competitors.

“Every day we ask ourselves: How can we make this customer happy? How can we get ahead in innovation by doing this, because if we don’t, somebody else will.” (Bill Gates)

Let’s ask to ourselves: Who cares about this problem? How old is he? What does he like? Is he a man or a woman? What type of habits does he have? Does he live alone or is he married? Has he studied? Has he graduated? Is he digitally active? Does he use social media? And the search engines to compare and choose products or services that he will buy? Does he follow web influencers that post photos on Instagram and articles on their blogs? Is it a consumer convinced by his choices or does he need incentives and a plus that can make the difference?

We have a great tool in our hands which is both probing into and guiding, we are able to probe the decisions but we can also direct them, in a deeper level.

Market Research Techniques

First of all let’s dissolve a knot: costs. Some tools are for free, and it’s good to know how to use them optimally. Let’s talk about the Insights and the Google Trends, for instance. These are a source of news which is not indifferent because it is extremely close to the active users. From here you can set out for distant destinations thanks to the market research; let’s remember in this regard that many products shortly end up in oblivion, because companies have not been able to intercept the target’s tastes and have not asked directly opinions.

Of course we are not talking about a foolproof method, but a technique that goes back to a very targeted strategy that tends to minimize the risks of failure.

Let’s classify the market into two main classes:

Qualitative Research

It aims to understand a phenomenon through the definition of concepts and ideas that characterize it. The qualitative term refers to the form through which results are expressed, impossible to represent in the form of numbers or quantitative relationships between variables.

Quantitative Research

It aims to provide statistical information. In this case results are expressed with numbers, values, proportions, and percentages.

Qualitative research is not a conclusive survey tool, but a verification and presentation process of new working hypotheses that will be useful in the quantitative phase of the research. In general, the objectives that the qualitative research needs to satisfy are:

  • Provide concepts, expressions, material for the questionnaire’s construction
  • Identify types of behaviors, attitudes, opinions and any existing relationship between them.

We can find exploratory research within the qualitative research, used especially when you want to verify hypotheses. They are normally designed to obtain a preliminary view of the situation and they are characterized by a high flexibility. They include:

  • Search of publications
  • interviews to experts
  • group discussions

Quantitative research instead include both descriptive research and causal or experimental ones.

The descriptive research describes the characteristics of the studied population and it is possible, if there is already ,in the process of setting, a good knowledge of marketing variables involved in the case of studying. It must be done on a very large representative sample and it is recommended that the questions are formulated in order to obtain detailed information on the total market size and on the share of the various brands, on consumers profiles, preferences and buying habits, distribution and competitive strategies.

The random research, however, is the identification of the factors that underlie the behavior of the market and the evaluation of possible relations of cause and effect existing between the characteristics of a specific population. This type of research requires a highly planned and structured method to minimize errors and to get to unambiguous conclusions regarding causality.

At this point, how do we really bring forward a market research?

Types of market research

 

Competitiveness

  • Market’s target : what is the target to which the market intends to sell their goods and services
  • Evangelists: Who are the key people of this company. Those who push it forward, and that talk about it
  • Value proposition: what is their primary message in which they show their distinction compared to others
  • UX Design: how is their design on the web site, their user experience. What are their strengths and weaknesses in this regard
  • Print: those who talk about them, where they talk about them, how often, what they say about them and with whom they are compared
  • Traffic Sources: where they get their visits from and their customers
  • Channels: what kind of channels they normally use for their communications.

 

Customers

  • Profiling: demographic or psychographic
  • Polls targeted: customer surveys to find out certain key points
  • Product Review: is a research on the experimental phase of a product , where you can find out if customers actually want a certain function, what do they think in general, and if they would like something more or less
  • Study on usability: these are the final studies on the product creation. To actually see if the product is usable or not by those who are directly involved.
  • Face to face interviews: to know thoughts even more deeply it is possible to do face to face interviews.

 

Industry Experts

In this case we don’t turn to consumers in general anymore, but we ask directly to industry experts what they think. This type of research is useful because the so-called “experts” will also act as promoters of that product and brand in general.

Ad Tracking

It is a periodic or an ongoing research into the market in order to monitor brand’s performance by using measurements such as brand awareness, brand preferences, and use a product.

Advertising Research

It is a form of conduct market research to improve the efficiency of advertising.

 

Brand equity research

How consumers see the brand.

 

Brand name testing

What do consumers think about the names of the products.

 

Commercial Eye Tracking Research

It is a study conducted in order to examine advertising, packaging, website, etc., by analyzing the visual behavior of consumers.

 

Concept testing

It is a study that tests the acceptance by the target market of a product sketch.

 

Cool hunting

It is a research that observes and “predicts” the changing trends in markets such as fashion, music, movies, television, youth culture and lifestyles.

 

Copy testing

It is an analysis of an advertisement before it is ready to go online.

 

Customer Satisfaction

Quantitative and qualitative studies to better understand the customer satisfaction with the brand.

 

Question

It is an estimate to determine the approximate product demand.

 

Distribution channels

To discover suppliers and distributors’ attitude and regarding a good / service or company.

 

Marketing Efficiency

Creation of models and measurement of results in order to determine the efficiency of various marketing activities.

 

Placement

It is a research that helps to understand how the target market see the brand comparing it to the competition.

 

Price elasticity

We call it an elastic demand when the price decreases and the demand increases or if the price increases and demand decreases.

 

Segmentation

The market splits into many small units (target) depending on different bases or segmentation variables. For example, geographical, socio-demographic, psychographic and behavioral.

 

Online Panel

It is a group of individuals who have agreed to be subject to an online market research.

 

Test Marketing

It is a product launch in a very small market in order to test its level of acceptance before being brought out to a wider market.

 

Viral Marketing Research

It is a study carried out to discover the potential of a specific communication which is intended to become viral. For example trough Social Networks.

As can be seen from this brief but detailed analysis, we can say that the market research is a very vast territory to discover.

What do you need to do to make sure that this will also become effective? There is definitely a lot of curiosity by the team that is moving forward with it, always fresh skills and a good technological background that supports the team both in terms of tools and knowledge.

If you need help, write me e.armato@iff-international.com

Ennio Armato, Branch Manager Italy

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