While analysis paralysis and the curse of perfection are major traps where good ideas go to die, there is something to be said for due diligence before jumping head first into a new business venture. So where is that happy medium? It’s in market research.
At The Alias Group, we have experience with market research for other companies. You don’t need to invest in a research project for every single decision you make; so, let’s break down when/how you would use market research:
Three Times You Need Marketing Research
You want to sell a specific product to a new market: So you have a product that’s doing great in a certain industry, but you’ve pretty much reached your ceiling. Sales are looking more like a flat line rather than an incline. Rather than investing the time and energy into manufacturing and selling a totally new product, you want to take an existing product to new clients. The question is: who else can use what you have? Market research will reveal opportunities to pursue, but more importantly, risks and barriers to entry. What may look like a golden opportunity could be a huge time and money suck. Market research helps you figure that out prior to investing everything you have into something that won’t pay off.
You want to bring your products or services to a new location: So you’ve owned the local market, and it’s time to step up and go bigger. The thing is, for your product or service, the competitive landscape can look very different. Before jumping in with the same strategy you used before, commission a market research project to see who the big players are in the game, what size market share they have, what the barriers to entry are, and who are the biggest influencers in your world. If you don’t understand the landscape of your new location, you might not be speaking to your potential customers in a language they understand. They could have different pain points, be on different platforms, or have any number of cultural differences from your existing established market. It’s worth it to know how to sell in California vs. Boston before going with what already worked in Idaho.
You have a new product or new development of your product to sell: This is where it gets really exciting, in a nerdy, research way. Whether you’ve developed an app that is going to change how you sell your product or you are altering how your product is positioned so that it requires its own brand or you’ve just created a new product that you’re ready to bring to market, it is definitely time for market research. You will find out so much about who your audience is, where they are, their behaviors, and how to leverage that information to make your product the one they’ll choose. You’ll also be prepared for those rough spots that are inevitable. Whether it will take time for name recognition for your new brand or the market is highly competitive and saturated, or you need to build a social following to gain credibility, etc. the knowledge will prevent poor, panic based decision-making and fruitless marketing efforts.
The number of reasons to commission a market research project is as varied as the products and services people can create and sell; however, the three listed above will always be a worthwhile investment of time and money. Growing your business takes time and knowledge. Invest in both wisely.