Effective Market Research for Startup

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Market research is something which can be done before setting up a business, during a marketing event, or even after implementing a marketing strategy. However, with market research, it is always important to make sure that your efforts, whether online market research or otherwise, are bearing fruit and not just unnecessarily costing you time and effort. Here are a few things on effective market research and how to do it.

Different customers, different wants.

With any business, it is always important to understand just what kind of audience and followers is available to you. Otherwise, you would just be releasing products and services that don’t really fit with the customers you have and could have. Often, what’s missing in a business’ market research is a deeper understanding of its customer base, that is, what people want and need depending on different factors such as time of day, season, genders, social class, and many others.

It takes a bit of imagination, but putting yourself in the position of an interested buyer is one good way of supporting the data that you acquire through traditional market research methods. If you run a restaurant and find out that your biggest market comes from surrounding offices at lunchtime, for example, you could pretend that you are coming out for lunch and see what a customer would be looking for in this scenario. Early morning commuters? Imagine what you would be looking for if you just got out of the house to get to work and are hungry for some breakfast. The quality of your products is always important, but you also need to consider the customer on the other side of the counter and know how to choose a proper target market.

The context behind the data counts.

Market research is all well and good until you interpret the data incorrectly and make a mistake that would set you back instead of push you forwards. Having perfectly valid and accurate data is not a confirmation of successful market research, and in fact Forbes.com shares more on this as well why so much market research sucks. The basic idea, though, is that you need to look around the circumstances of the information and not just the information itself, because you might otherwise miss something crucial.

Consider an example about a hypothetical cake store researching on customers’ favourite cupcake flavours. Giving respondents a choice between Red Velvet cupcakes and Chocolate cupcakes, the store’s research might reflect that people really love Red Velvet cupcakes; however, an increase in production of the cupcakes yields no significant improvement in sales and maybe even a drop in customer turnout. In this case, taking the data and thinking it means “Customers love Red Velvet cupcakes” is wrong because you didn’t consider that their response is about a choice between only two specific cupcake flavours. In short, they may prefer one over the other but not particularly like either of the flavours.

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Use it to break into new markets.

If you want to reinvent your business or one of your existing products in order to cater to a different group of customers, being prepared with effective market research is a must. One example of breaking into new markets is taking a previously specialized product and tweaking it for mass production and distribution to the general public. It takes extensive research in order to successfully make that shift, and if you’re not careful you could end up wasting a lot of money trying to sell something that is not saleable to your newly chosen market.

In this case, it is not only information about people that is important but also existing rules and regulations, market conditions, and other statistics. For example, you might want to sell your product to two different cities, and the people from both might use it for entirely different purposes. What happens in this situation is that it doesn’t matter that you have two groups of people with varied needs as long as your product’s flexibility allows for it. With the right information, you can do anything with your business.

Summing it up.

There are countless different tools available to businesses when it comes to market research. In the end, though, what will matter is not the tool itself but what people make out of these tools. Dealing with the data gathered from research can seem daunting and impossible at times, but in the end it will be all worth it to see your business boom.

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5 Reasons You are Losing Your Customers

customer_losing-reasons_6x4When it comes to business, customers are the most important thing to have. It is not just about getting them either but keeping the ones you already have so that your business can keep growing and developing over time. Losing customers is something no business or company ever wants, and if you are losing yours you might be wondering just what the reason behind it is. Here are 5 possible explanations.

Your customer service sucks.

Customer service is one of the biggest headaches in business. It is something that both customers and the employees behind the counter dread facing each day, because it is almost never an easy process trying to make everyone happy. Having a skilled, efficient, and most of all polite team of customer service personnel is not an easy thing to achieve, and employees that can think on their feet and know how to please a customer are really something to be proud of. Are customers streaming right out of your doors towards competition even though you’re selling pretty much the same thing? Maybe your customer service just sucks.

You’re not keeping up.

Business is pretty much a race without an end. You’re always running forwards, trying to move ahead of your competition or at the very least just keep up with the ever-changing trends. There’s always a new piece of technology right around the corner, always another “revolutionary idea” waiting to replace the old one, and if you form a shell around yourself and trap yourself in the past, it is very possible for you to lose your customers one by one. You don’t have to undergo radical changes every other day, but at the same time you don’t let yourself get outdated either. Keep relevant!

The boss treats customers well, but not employees.

In dating, you would have a good idea how nice a person is not by how he treats you or his friends but by how he treats those under his service—waiters, valets, sales clerks, etc. It is the same concept with customers. People appreciate being attended to nicely and politely, especially when it’s manager or the owner making small talk and forging the relationship. However, if that same boss turns around, flips a switch, and starts yelling at his employees, then it’s no better than being rude to the customers themselves. One of the job descriptions of managers and even the owners is keeping the workers in line and chastising them when needed, but there IS a right way of doing it without turning off customers. Be a good leader.

Your products suck.

This one doesn’t really need all that much of an explanation. Horrible products and services = unhappy customers. And when customers feel that their money can fetch them something better somewhere else, then you can expect that they won’t be coming back. If you spend too much time on your commercials, your videos for YouTube, posters from PrintPlace.com, and other marketing strategies, then the quality of your service may suffer and it defeats the main purpose. If you’re all talk and can’t back it up, customers won’t be impressed.

You’re not reaching out to your customers.

If you want customers that will remain faithful to you and not leave you in the lurch, constant communication has to be there between the two of you. An email now and then, a personalized postcard during the holidays, whatever you do, the goal is to make the customers feel that you remember them so that they will remember you too. If you don’t make the effort to keep in touch, you can’t expect your customers to do it for you and they could just end up forgetting you and gravitating towards another company. Keep in mind: it is a harder and more expensive task to get new customers than to keep the ones you already have.

Every new day shows a new face doing business with you as well as old customers turning their backs on you. The trick to staying in business is to make sure that you are getting more of the former than of the latter, and hopefully this list has given you insight on just how to make that happen. Customers are the most important thing to have when you are running a small business; cherish them, make the most of them, and make sure that they won’t have any reason to walk out on you ever again.