As the saying goes, “knowledge is power.” This inspires our efforts at ath Power Consulting when it comes to customer experience, specifically educating our customers about our research solutions. Knowledge, in this case, is particularly powerful relative to effective product development.
Here, we offer six important insights that show how market research can help you develop products that customers want to buy to enhance the entire retail customer experience.
Understanding Market Research
To create a profitable product — one that solves a problem, especially a problem the customer didn’t even realize they had — it’s essential to invest time and money into market research.
Unfortunately, too many people assume that this kind of investment will put too great a strain on their schedule or budget. Our Chief Relationship Officer, Lynn Saladini, is here to set the record straight:
Clients often think that a research project will become a cumbersome part of their to-do list or that it would break the budget to hire someone to conduct a study. Neither could be further from the truth. We get calls from clients needing to know something about their market place on Friday evenings, and by Wednesday, they are getting top-line insights. The key is to find a research partner that has enough flexible technology and large enough panel participants to be able to execute quickly and in a cost-conscious way.
Accessing a clearer understanding of what the consumer wants or needs is key to delivering it. You can’t know what you don’t know, and that lack of knowledge often results in product development that misses the mark.
Market research comes in two flavors: primary and secondary. Primary research requires that you go right to the source; in other words, your ideal customers. Secondary research depends on statistics and data collected and published by other organizations.
Both types of market research support successful product development by providing:
- Connection with Customers
By connection, what we really mean is a clearer understanding of who your target consumers are. This understanding encompasses demographic details like age, education level, occupation, income, gender, and geographic location. These data points provide a more complete picture of who your product is truly meant for and how you can find and reach that intended audience.For instance, if yours is a luxury or high-end product, you shouldn’t waste any of your marketing budget advertising in weekly circulars or publications aimed at a budget-conscious readership.
- Evaluation of the Product
Is your product any good? How do you know unless you offer it to a sample segment of your ideal customer (which you have now identified) and get their feedback? If there is any part of your product or idea that needs tweaking, it’s best to find out through survey research and market testing and not after its official launch. You’ll save money in the long run, not to mention keep your brand reputation looking polished and professional.
- A Peek at the Competition
Market research will ultimately acquaint you with your competition. This is a good thing. Checking out the competition saves you from reinventing the wheel when it comes to marketing. Mystery Shopping also gives you a chance to scope out where the competition is lacking.What are the holes in their marketing plans? How are they selling their product? Where do you see the opportunity to fill the gap and do things differently for greater effect? Part of evaluating the competition should be keeping an eye on established names, as well as any rising stars. The name of the game here is to watch, learn, and improve upon what’s already working.
- Confirmation that a Market or Demand Actually Exists
Sure, this seems obvious, but do you definitely know that a market exists for what you’re selling? If not, market testing will let you know one way or another. If there is a clear demand, great — stay the course; if not, take the time to pivot your efforts into a product that consumers really want or need.
- Sharpened Competitive Edge
If you’re taking the time to glean as much information as you can about your consumer and competition, along with more specific details and insight into your product, of course, you’ve got the competitive advantage over someone who is just winging it and hoping for the best. Market research is a strategic set of tools in your arsenal and should be used to build upon your success.
- Education About the Actual Product and its Intended Audience
We’ve touched on this with respect to isolating your audience, but don’t overlook the fact that market research provides education about your product — both it’s potential and limitations. By understanding these ins and outs, you can be sure that you’re set to deliver a product that has been fully vetted. And you can feel confident in your ability to answer any questions or address concerns from your target consumer base.
Given the powerful impact market research can have on your product (and potentially your bottom line), we invite you to contact us to experience our market solutions and move forward with confidence.