In order to make informed, data-driven business decisions, you need quality market research.
Market research is essential for all types of businesses in different stages of growth.
Large multinational corporations regularly use market research to guide strategic planning, identify attractive markets, and develop new products.
Market research is also useful for start-ups looking to create robust business plans and validate their strategies for potential investors. Conducting market research can help entrepreneurs and business professionals quantify the size of a market, identify key trends, and understand their target consumers from a more objective perspective.
But whether you are well-versed in various market research methods, or have zero training in how to do market analysis, you can find the industry information you need — and save valuable time and money — if you use the right strategic approach.
When you need to conduct market research, follow these three steps to improve your overall results.
1. Seek Out Quality Industry Data
If you are researching a specific market, you may be surprised by how little vetted industry analysis is available online. In addition, the information you find online may be false or misleading, or it may be taken out of context.
KEY POINT → Incorporating faulty information into your business plans can lead to missed opportunities or big losses; therefore, obtaining reliable data is critical for your long-term success. Because of the common pitfalls associated with information gathered online, experienced researchers know to look well beyond Google in their hunt for useful intelligence.
A former research analyst at Hewlett Packard, Cindy Reifsnider serves as the Director of Research Services & Knowledge Management at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina.
When she teaches about market research, she underscores the importance of relying on credible sources and “not just using Google.” She believes you can find better content and more relevant content faster by using market research from multiple, big-name firms.
How do you know if a research firm is credible? If their studies appear in respected trade journals and publications such as the The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, or The Economist, chances are they have been vetted as authoritative. You can also ask research specialists at MarketResearch.com for their opinions about a publisher’s reputation.
2. Partner with Experts in Market Research Analysis
To fast-track your results and obtain solid industry analysis, delegate time-consuming tasks to experienced researchers and benefit from their knowledge and experience.
KEY POINT → “Before you spend hours scrolling through one questionable search engine result after another to cobble together a report that may or may not end up being reality-based, consider calling your trusted market research expert first,” advises Peter Kusnic, an Industry Studies Editor at The Freedonia Group, a division of MarketResearch.com.
MarketResearch.com has a large staff of highly trained research specialists who are available to help you find the exact information you need at no extra cost to you. Our research specialists can conduct searches on your behalf to save you time and help you locate “off the shelf” market research reports that are available on your industry.
These research reports can provide you with extensive industry analysis, so you don’t have to make the effort to gather and assess the data yourself. Through these reports, you also benefit from an unbiased, third-party perspective that gives you a more comprehensive view of an industry.
Here are the types of market research that can often be found in an industry study:
- Market size and segmentation
- Sales drivers and growth forecasts
- Competitive market share
- New product and technology trends
- Consumer profiles and buyer behavior
- Strategic insights and growth opportunities
- Company profiles and SWOT analyses
Finding the right report doesn’t have to be a struggle. Our research specialists are familiar with hundreds of market research publishers; they know what their reputations and specialties are, and they can open a report to confirm the presence of key information. This takes much of the guesswork out of the process.
Research specialists can also provide you with sample pages and ask publishers direct questions to confirm the reports are a good fit for you. What’s more, they know about many different discounts that are not publicly advertised and can help you find the best deal.
3. Consider Your Long-Term Research Needs
The cost of individual reports can quickly add up, and the process of getting approvals and obtaining research may be cumbersome within your organization. To reduce costs and cut down on red tape, look into market research solutions that will address your market research needs over the long run.
KEY POINT → Don’t just think about what research you need this week or this month; consider what research you and your team need over the course of the entire year.
If your organization needs on-going research about a specific industry, a Knowledge Center subscription can provide you with company-wide access to an entire catalog of industry-specific market research reports at one fixed cost, providing you with a predictable budget and reliable coverage from a vetted source.
On the other hand, if your organization prefers to buy slices of reports (such as a table, chapter, or section) from many different publishers, a solution like Profound can help you maximize your budget and make purchasing easier.
Each organization is unique and may require a different combination of reports, slices, subscriptions, or custom research projects over the course of a year. Our research specialists can partner with you to help you find the best long-term solution for your specific needs.
Additional Market Research Resources
If you'd like more practical tips about how to do market research, be sure to check out a new white paper about estimating market size.
In this free downloadable PDF, expert analysts at Freedonia Custom Research, a division of MarketResearch.com, share techniques that can be used for developing a reliable market size calculation.
- 7 Popular Sources of Company Information and Research
- The Strategic Value of a SWOT Analysis
- 5 Benefits of Market Research Reports
About the Author: Sarah Schmidt is a Managing Editor at MarketResearch.com, a leading provider of global market intelligence products and services.