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How to Do Market Research
Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar store or a digital marketing agency, one of the most important parts of any business plan is gathering accurate information regarding your target audience and the potential profitability of your new venture, also known as market research.
These days, it’s easier than ever to gather data on consumer preferences and spending habits, but it can still be time-consuming if you’re not familiar with where to look and what questions to ask when it comes to doing market research. Here are some tips on how to conduct market research efficiently so you can focus more time on refining your business.

Define Your Buyer Persona
First and foremost, it’s important to define your buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a specific type of buyer that you can easily identify with. Your buyer persona should be detailed enough that you feel like you understand them and their needs – which you can use as a benchmark for marketing.
Basically, you’re creating a character based on real people with common interests or behaviours so you can more effectively identify and appeal to their needs.
For example, if you were trying to sell makeup to women ages 18-25, you might create a fictional character named Lily who goes to university full-time and works part-time at a coffee shop.
This helps keep things simple because there are only two main traits: gender and age group.
If you want to niche even more, you may even decide Lily is interested in photography or that she likes spending time outside with her friends on weekends.

Identify A Persona Group To Engage With.
If you’re identifying problems or opportunities, then talking with almost anyone will do.
If you’re looking for demographic information or attempting to understand how people solve a problem (or don’t), then choosing someone from your target persona group is best.
This can be tricky because different parts of your business may have different answers for who their ideal buyer persona really is. For example, if you’re selling software and asking around for an ideal customer profile, marketing might tell you it’s small businesses with five employees or less while sales might say big companies with 500+ employees.
Ultimately,  finding a persona with traits everybody can agree on will help you move forward.

Prepare Research Questions For Your Participants
When conducting market research, create a questionnaire or interview guide with specific questions related to your business idea. This will help ensure that you won’t gather random information about a broad topic and will also give you clarity on how successful your product might be in its target market.
Make sure your questions are worded clearly so respondents can understand what exactly you’re looking for.
Avoid one-word answers – the more your target persona explains to you, the better you’ll understand what they need.
Although market research costs money, it’s often well worth it since surveys and interviews can provide valuable insight into what your customers want, which is essential in offering products or services they’ll actually buy.

Look At Your Primary Competitors.
There are a number of tools that can help you do your research, but looking at your competitors is always a good idea.
After all, they’ve already done most of the work for you.
Take some time to study their strategies, products and services, and see how they’re faring in today’s market.
It’s also a good idea to check out online reviews on sites like Yelp or Google Places.
This can be an excellent way to evaluate your competition based on real customer experiences.
You can also take a look at similar businesses in other cities. Doing so will allow you to benchmark against companies that are performing well elsewhere—or use them as inspiration for improving your own company.

Summarise Your Findings.
Once you’ve gathered the information you need, the final step is to summarise everything into the most basic points.
Whatever you think may help you is something to keep, and boiling down everything else will save you time in the long run.
It also allows you to figure out what you’re looking for, and will help streamline your questions for further market research.

Market research can be time consuming if you’re not sure what you’re doing.
But, by looking at specifics (and your competitors if you’re not entirely sure) you can very quickly get everything you need in one place to do effective market research



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