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Market Research – establishing the foundations for an effective marketing strategy

By Tamar Ferhad

“This is exactly what I need!”

This comment equals business success and is a dream come true for any business. The only way to achieve this is to understand your customer target market through effective Market Research. If you give people what they need at a price they feel is fair, you will be doing a lot of selling, making a lot of money, and have many satisfied customers.

So, in the start up phase of your business, you need to ask:

“What do my intended customer target market want?”

Successful marketing strategies revolve around what their target market want.  Whether your business idea is new or you’re going to compete in an established industry you need to listen carefully to your intended target market. An effective marketing strategy starts with market research so you can:

  • Identify your customer target market;
  • understand their needs;
  • create compelling reasons for purchase;
  • reach them via magazines, websites, shops, events; and
  • set a reasonable price.

For instance, the price point you have in mind could be too low for your target market, and by doing so may undervalue it. Or you may find that although men in a particular age bracket would be the main user of your product/service, it’s the woman in the family who will make the purchase, so you need to be designing your strategies to reach both men and women.

Being part of the Indigenous community, there is a network of businesses and community organisations, as well as your friends and family who can participate in your market research, which will allow you to understand your market better.

Your target audience for your market research will obviously depend on your specific product or service offerings, and associated demographics such as age and gender.

An important first step and tip in your market research process, is to firstly arrange a Market Research Confidentiality Agreement with people who you talk with during your market research activity. With your market research participants agreeing to sign the confidentiality agreement, this will legally bind your market research participants to keep your market research discussions confidential. Remember, your business idea may be so new and innovative, and with a lot of potential, that it suddenly grows legs, walks away and makes somebody else rich.  So protect your business idea and yourself, and speak to a legal advisor about preparing a Market Research Confidentiality Agreement document for use in your market research activities.

Next, you have to design the types of questions you need to ask. You’ll need to use a combination of quantitative questions, (yes/no questions or ‘rate this between 1 and 5’) so you can get some overall trends, and qualitative questions (“What do you think…?”, “How can this improve…?”) for a deeper understanding of your market. Don’t ask people for their names, but ask their gender, age group, where they live, what they read, etc to profile your proposed customer target market.

Then you need to trial your questions. The wording has to make sense and the question type has to be relevant to the answer, i.e. if it’s a yes/no question, would it be better to include a maybe option? If it’s yes/no, do you want reasons for their choice? Find out from some people you trust as to how easy the questions are to understand, how appropriate the type of response is for the information you want to collect, and how long it takes to answer these questions.

Once you have your questions fine tuned and you’ve identified who you want to ask, then go for it. Remember the more people you ask the better. A sample of 50 people would be ideal.

All the best in your quest for answers in helping to build your marketing strategy.

Some tips for designing market research questions:

  1. Identify the demographic, age, gender, brands they purchase.
  2. Are they using a similar product/service?
  3. Are they loyal to a particular brand/company and why?
  4. Find out the minimum and maximum they would pay.
  5. Learn about what they watch, read and listen to.

 

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