April 01, 2024 3 min read

Led by: Jelly Academy

Conducting market research is important at every stage of a business’s lifetime. By conducting research, you’re able to achieve a good understanding of the industry your business is in, or plans to be in, and where your business fits. Knowing where your business fits in the industry will allow you to identify what ultimately makes your business stand out from the competition.

Once you’ve identified how you stand out, conducting market research will help you determine your target audience who you can begin to reach with marketing efforts.

Team meeting about market research
Understand the Industry

Whether you are a new business or have been in business for a while, it’s important to understand the industry you are in. Conducting market research allows you to obtain a grasp on who your competitors are within a particular industry. You can also look into how they’ve positioned themselves in the market to find ways to further differentiate yourself from the competition.

One of the ways you can do this is by accessing public records which have information on how specific industries are doing worldwide. Some examples are Statistics Canada and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Secondly, a classic Google search of what your product or service is can bring up a variety of results to help you determine who your competitors are. From there, you can see how those companies have marketed their products or services to the public. You can do this by examining their website and social media, by analyzing any advertisements they may have run, and by reading through any articles that may have been published.

Find What Makes You Unique 

Learning more about your competitors’ market position can help you find a way to differentiate yourself from the competition. You can use that data to see what solutions they are providing for customers and how your business can provide something better or unique. Without doing any market research, you miss out on developing a key unique value proposition for your business, which is essential when marketing to your target audience. 

Your unique value proposition is what you market to your target audience to make your business stand out from your competitors. For example, Shopify’s is “the platform commerce is built on”, showcasing that they are the go-to platform when building an eCommerce website. Or M&Ms “melts in your mouth, not in your hands”, telling their audience that their chocolate won’t leave a mess when you’re enjoying it.

Determine Your Target Audience

One of the main goals of conducting market research is to define the problem you are trying to solve with your business. By understanding that problem, you can begin to determine exactly who experiences that problem and is trying to solve it. The ‘who’ with that problem is your target audience. The most common ways to determine who your target audience is includes surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations, and more.

With surveys, you can post them on social media or a hire market research company to reach out to those willing to answer them. You can request details such as age, gender, location, or anything else you may need to define your target audience. A similar approach can be done via interviews (and focus groups), with current, past, or potential customers depending on the contact information you have, to get an idea of who has been or is interested in your business. Lastly, you can observe data in your social media and website audience insights to see who is interacting with your business. 

Stay Informed

If you’ve conducted market research in the beginning stages of your business, it’s ideal to continue on with this practice in later years. Why? To stay informed of how your business is being perceived. Keeping yourself informed and updated on what people are saying about your business keeps you on top of how you market yourself with your target audience. There are a variety of tools you can use to monitor how people are interacting with your business such as Google My Business review, Yelp, social media, social media listening tools, a classic Google search, and more.

How customers interact with businesses and expect businesses to interact back is constantly changing. Keeping up with market research allows you to adapt quickly to these changes to ensure you’re meeting your customers' needs and expectations. It can also help steer your marketing efforts to ensure you’re focusing on the right tactics. For example, if your audience is very engaged on social media, meet them where they are and spend more time focusing on your organic social media. Or if you notice there isn’t much chatter about your business lately, focusing on some PR could be beneficial. By staying on top of market research can help your business stay on top of your audience’s mind.

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