As a small business, you may not have the budget for large-scale market research. In order to successfully grow your business in today’s competitive landscape, it is imperative that you understand what works and what doesn’t so that you can avoid making costly mistakes.
The “marketing research in small businesses and nonprofit organizations” is a blog post that includes 21 resources for market research. The article also includes information on how to do market research, what types of market research are available, the benefits of using these resources, and more.
When you’re just starting out in company, you need to know all there is to know about your consumers. In fact, getting to know your consumers on a personal level is arguably the most essential factor in achieving success.
People who are in urgent need of your goods or service are your consumers. You must know who they are, why they need your service, what they like and hate, and even what they ate for morning. Knowing all of this will assist you in attracting more consumers and developing a better product that your customers would eagerly purchase and tell their friends and colleagues about.
This is when market research enters the picture.
What is the definition of market research?
Market research is a fancy way of expressing “getting to know your consumers,” and it is the process of gathering information about your target market. You should try to learn as much as you can about your target market and the main variables that affect their purchasing choices. This is an important part of your overall market study. Check out this article for additional information about that.
You’ll need to decide what kind of market research will work best for you as you get started. Make that choice based on the value of the insights you expect to receive against the time and effort required to locate the data.
Market research is often mistaken with a time-consuming and expensive procedure carried out by expensive consultants. That is definitely not the case. The majority of your market research can and should be done by you, and it doesn’t have to be difficult.
After I discuss the many kinds of market research, I’ll provide you access to all of the tools you’ll need to do your own.
Explained are the many types of market research.
1. Conduct initial market research
Primary market research is when you do your own research rather than relying on information that has already been published. You get this knowledge by speaking with prospective consumers directly. This may be exploratory research, in which you ask open-ended questions, or specialized research, in which you seek measurable findings.
Here are a few options for doing primary research.
Organize focus groups
A focus group necessitates assembling a small group of individuals for a conversation with a designated leader.
Customers should be polled
Distribute them to both current and prospective consumers. Sending out a survey utilizing platforms like SurveyMonkey is a fantastic method to get this information from your existing or prospective clients. With services like Qualaroo, you can even conduct small surveys directly on your website. Make careful to ask precise questions, but avoid leading them to the response you want to hear. Try to be as objective as possible.
Examine the competition.
Examine your competitors’ solutions, technology, and market niches. This may assist you in better understanding their market position and how you can compete. To simplify your competition study, create a competitive matrix or a SWOT analysis.
Conduct one-on-one interviews with each candidate.
Locate prospective clients and speak with them about their issues and the answers you have for them. Conduct these in-depth interviews ideally at your customer’s place of business or wherever they will be if they decide to buy your product. You may also request that these interviews be conducted remotely.
2. Market research done after the fact
Secondary sources of market research are also possible. This is information on clients in your sector that has previously been collected and published by others.
You may be able to get access to this secondary market research data for free if you send an email, write a letter, or telephone. Much of it is completely free and readily accessible through the internet. Here are a few options for gathering secondary market data.
Associations of businesses
Organizations that serve particular sectors are known as trade associations. There’s a good chance one exists for your industry. Once you’ve located it, contact them and request information about their business and its markets.
Information from the government
The US government has a massive amount of data to go through. The information is entirely free, although it may take some effort to locate.
Sites that provide third-party research
There are market research firms that can offer you pre-written industry studies with information about industries and their target audiences for a fair price.
The most effective market research tools
It may be tough to know where to begin your market research since there is so much information available. Here are some of our favorite market research resources.
Government of the United States of America resources
These are the best places to utilize for research if your company is operating in or expanding to the United States.
- The United States Census Bureau is an excellent place to start when looking for information about the population of the United States. You may dig down into the data to learn almost anything about various places and populations.
- Census Business Builder: You may look at how much individuals in your sector spend in addition to population statistics.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics is an excellent source of data on particular sectors, such as hiring and expenditure trends, as well as industry sizes. This is an excellent location to search for data if your target market is other companies.
- Consumer Expenditure Survey: This is the place to go if you want to discover what people spend their money on.
- While not a US official site, CensusViewer is a free application that uses US Census data and other data sources to provide data in an easy-to-use format that you can examine graphically on a map or in data reports for cities, counties, and whole states.
- Economic Indicators is a website that provides free economic, demographic, and financial data.
- The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan think tank whose goal is to educate the public about the problems, attitudes, and trends that shape the world. Public opinion polls, demographic research, content analysis, and other data-driven social science research are among the services they provide.
summaries of industries
These are some of the finest resources to check into if you’re searching for knowledge about particular sectors.
- SBDCNet Business Snapshots: Here you’ll discover a fantastic collection of industry profiles that explain how sectors are expanding and changing, who their consumers are, and how much it costs to start a business. You should also look at their industry-specific list of market research resources.
- While not a free resource, Hoovers Industry Research’s industry summary data may be useful if you require in-depth industry studies.
- IBISWorld: Industry studies that are updated on a regular basis and offer information on the current state, market forecast, and competitive landscape of a particular industry. Although it is a membership service, you may try it out by downloading free reports.
Market research tools for business locations
Interested in learning more about a certain geographic location’s demographics and consumer base? Take a look at these resources.
- ZoomProspector: This tool may assist you in finding the perfect site for your company, as well as new places that are comparable to where you are now for expansion and growth.
- MyBestSegments: This Nielsen tool is useful for determining which demographic and psychographic groups reside in a specific zip code, as well as where the greatest concentration of a particular segment resides. While the most comprehensive data is not free, the free version provides a wealth of useful information.
- SizeUp: This is a helpful mapping tool for determining the location of your potential consumers. It’s very helpful in determining the best location for your company.
Tools for conducting surveys
Here are some surveying tools to consider if you’re planning on doing primary research.
- SurveyMonkey: If you need to poll a group for work, SurveyMonkey is a free and trustworthy option. Simply create the survey and distribute it to your target audience.
- Google Consumer Surveys: To send out a survey on this site, you don’t need a contact list. You may use Google Surveys to target people from all over the internet and receive immediate input on your business concept.
- TypeForm: Whether you’re looking for a basic form or a survey, TypeForm can handle everything. It works particularly well on mobile devices.
- Qualaroo: If you operate a website and want to obtain fast feedback from the people who already visit it, Qualaroo is an excellent tool to use.
Associations of business and industry
Many sectors are fortunate to have a vibrant trade organization that acts as a valuable source of industry-specific data. Such organizations produce directories for their members on a regular basis, while the better ones provide statistical data on industry sales, profitability, ratios, economic trends, and other useful information.
- The following is a list of trade associations in the United States compiled by Wikipedia: This is a rather thorough list to help you get started with your study.
- Another large list of organizations may be found in the Directory of Associations. You should be able to locate an industry association here.
- Google Trends: Use Google Trends to see what people are looking for and how the number of searches for key subjects has changed over time.
- Statista: Statista is a fantastic place to start if you’re searching for statistics and trends. Here you’ll discover information about almost everything.
Use market research to help you make better business choices.
Market research is an effective method to lower your small company or startup’s risk. You’re less likely to spend money on marketing and advertising efforts that don’t reach the appropriate people if you know more about your consumers and your business.
You presumably already have a sense of who your clients are, as well as their requirements and problem areas. However, taking the effort to verify (or invalidate) your assumptions may have a significant impact on the bottom line and long-term sustainability of your business.
Note from the editor: This article was first published in 2019 and has been revised for 2021.
Watch This Video-
Market research is a vital part of the process of starting a business. This article lists some of the best resources for market research. Reference: how to do market research for a business idea.
Frequently Asked Questions
What market research would be best for a small business to use?
A: The best market research would be to get your target audience together and ask them what they want. Sometimes it can also help if you look at other similar businesses in the area, but that is a little trickier since there are so many factors involved in this decision.
What are the best resources for market research?
A: This is a hard question to answer. Research resources include things like the internet, books and various other sources that can help you with your research on specific topics.
What is the best market research tool?
A: There is no best market research tool. The best way to answer this for you would be to give you a list of the top 100 tools in that category.
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