Truth be told, the market out there is a competitive place. New business ideas emerge at a drop of a dime, and it gets tougher to remain relevant and original these days. As you dreamed of opening your own business or were illuminated with a brilliant idea that would solve many people’s problems, you - hopefully - followed a marketing 101 class and conducted market research to assess the viability of entering the market.
Market research for scaling your business allows you to review your current situation, reassess your strengths and weaknesses, and opens up opportunities to find a sweet spot in the market.
Why is market research pivotal for growth?
Picture this: When you want to expand your house, you don’t simply start building. Not without a plan and analysis. You need to see if the ground to build is firm, be sure that the integrity of the existing structure is intact, or that you don’t damage any pipes. You estimate the budget so you can assess how much you can do.
The same principle of market research applies when you envision scaling your business. It requires planning, analysis, and assessment. There is only market growth when there is market research. Not only market research, but comprehensive market research.
How to conduct comprehensive market research?
If you want to grow your existing business, you will have to identify potentialities, threats, strengths, and weaknesses. It all may sound like an old teacher’s lecture, but resorting to the ABCs of marketing will be crucial to ensure effectiveness in your research.
- The A is for your audience: Review and delve into your target audience, your marketing funnel, and your customer journey.
- The B is for your own business: Assess your current situation, your budget, your USPs, and the way you are communicating them. Are your marketing and sales seamlessly integrated?
- The C is for your competitors: Identify their USPs, their way of communicating, their engagement level on social media, and how their customer service operates.
And since we are playing with acronyms, why not add D and E to the ABC? They are also important when conducting your research:
- The D is for the deeds: The happenings, events, and trends in the market. If you are an existing business, you know very well how things have been changing, rather fast than slowly. Think of the influence of technology and the advent of A.I., for example.
- The E is for the environment: The social, political, and economic environments. A good example is how privacy concerns and law-making related to data and GDPR are things to be taken into consideration.
The deeper you go into your analysis, the more insights you may be able to gather, increasing the chances of finding a sweet spot in the market.
Huh!? What is this sweet spot? How do I find it?
The sweet spot is an opportunity you may find through a deep analysis of your target audience, your business, and your competitors. It is the alignment of what you are as a brand, not only what you offer but why you do it to solve your target audience’s problems (both objective and subjective) in a way the others are not doing.
Sometimes this differentiation lies in the details, such as the tone of voice your audience prefers, the fact they care for a better world, or how they like to feel seen on social media.
Finding this spot can become the gateway to growth and the center of your marketing efforts with great results. It all depends on the quality of insights gathered through the research you conducted.
Whenever you attend or watch extreme sports events, you'll see Red Bull there. The brand found its sweet spot by targeting 18-34 urban males and females who share a passion for adventure and radical sports.
Where do I collect data for my research?
Effective research is based on collecting valuable data. Whether you do it on your own or rely on a market research company, the key is to know where to look and how to work with the information gathered.
Quantitative and qualitative research are primary methods of gaining insight into your product/ service, your audience, and the market. Surveys and focus groups require time and effort, but you can find precious gems through them. The way to guarantee success lies in good sampling, defined research goals, and questionnaire building.
Third-party data is also crucial to gather intelligence from the market and competitors, and since this data has already been collected and processed, it is more cost-effective.
Technology is a huge asset these days, and it provides multiple pieces of information that can give you insightful data about your performance and your audience. Looking at your website traffic and social media analytics data can already give you some important leads on what works and what doesn’t. Think of ‘returning visitors’, ‘sessions’, ‘bounce rate’, ‘most visited pages’, and ‘source’ when you think of website metrics.
A.I. and the Future of market research
Since the expansion of A.I. and, lately, the arrival of ChatGPT, the world has been witnessing the possibility of a new disruption and vast change in the technological field. Whether it is for better or worse, A.I. will affect how we perform jobs and tasks, and market research is one of them.
Agent GPT and Rose AI are emerging A.I. websites that might be game changers in the way we search and gather data. They are tools programmed to work autonomously on performing tasks or gathering data, and presenting them to users in graphs.
If A.I. advances will revolutionize the way market research is performed or not, or if A.I. will ever be able to replace the human ability to analyze data and find the right insights for your business, it remains untouched the fact that growth can only be unlocked by knowing where you stand as a business and how to leverage opportunities presented through situation analysis and hopefully a market sweet spot.
Whether you want to grow your business or you just started a new business, the first thing to do will always come down to market research. Delving as deep as possible into the data and in the mind of your audience, so you can leverage your relevance and increase the possibility of finding a sweet spot and be in direct resonance with your customers. Untouchable.