The following blog post was written by Sara Cruz, Research Associate at RMS.
Owning a business is not for the faint of heart, the meek, the uncertain, or the unwilling. Business owners are strong, bold, driven, committed, and resilient. Starting and growing a business takes a certain type of person, and creating a successful business requires time, energy, money, and a level of unwavering commitment not just anyone can demonstrate.
Now, with all the work you and your team have put into building your company, is it perfect? Does everything operate exactly how it’s meant to? Are you making the level of revenue you desire?
If the answer is yes to those questions, kudos, bravo, a job well done! But, if you are like most business owners we work with, there is something that could be improved upon.
You may think you know the ins and outs of your business. You may be confident that you know everything about your current and potential customers. But, do you?
What if you truly understood your customer at a high-level? Would anything change in your business model? Would you offer a different product or service? Would you change your image? Maybe you would, maybe you wouldn’t.
Assessing your business on multiple levels is essential for establishing longevity and consistent increasing revenue as a company. Market research is a valuable tool, used to assess current and future business opportunities. Through a process of gathering data, market research allows a business to gain valuable insight about a consumer or client’s wants, needs and preferences. With the knowledge gained through market research, a business can create better strategies, ultimately increasing potential revenue moving forward.
There are key questions every business should be able to answer. Here are nine we feel are instrumental for success as a company.
#1 Who is currently purchasing our products and/or services?
Knowing your target market is essential for successful marketing campaigns. Knowing who is purchasing your products or services provides valuable insight. Think about it, if mothers are your most frequent current buyer, it may not be beneficial to market to non-parents. Another example, if you are a local pizza shop and your current customers are people who live within five miles of your establishment, to expand your business you may want to market to those who live outside the five-mile radius. The “who” can include your market’s age, gender, occupation, or marital and parental status.
#2 Who are our competitors?
Who else offers similar products/services in the same industry as your company? How are they similar? What are they doing differently? Are customers that are buying from them instead of you happy with the product or service? Knowing your competition can provide valuable insight about your own company’s products or services.
#3 What influences our customers/clients to purchase from our company?
Knowing what influences your customers to transform from potential buyer into paying customers, enables you to uncover what is working and what is not working with your branding or marketing. Tweaking and adjusting may be required. In order to truly grab your potential customer’s attention, you must know their struggles, pain points, wants, and desires. When you understand your potential customer, it becomes much easier to guide them to buy.
#4 What is our customer’s perception of our brand?
What do your customer’s think about your company? What is their impression of your brand? How does the community view your company? Can you see how knowing the answer to those questions would be helpful? Perception matters. How your current and future customers perceive your brand matters. If they do not see value, they will not purchase. If they do not agree with what the brand represents, they will not purchase. Knowing how your business is perceived can help create more sales.
#5 What do customer’s think when they see our logo?
Are you known? Do people see your logo and immediately know your company? What are their immediate thoughts when they see your logo? What type of message does your logo portray?
#6 What do we currently not offer that our customers want/need?
Are you a mind reader? I didn’t think so. How can you know what your current or potential customers want or need unless you ask them? You can’t without making assumptions, and assumptions in business are never encouraged.
#7 What is the best way to reach our target audience?
If your target audience is always online and never sit in front of the television, but you are advertising only on television, how successful do you think your marketing campaign will be? Not very. Knowing the best way to reach your target audience gives you valuable knowledge to incorporate into a marketing campaign.
#8 What are the struggles/challenges of our customers/clients?
When you can identify the struggles and challenges of your current and potential customers, you can demonstrate how your product or service is the solution to their problem. When your product or service is the solution to a potential customer’s problem, they are more likely to purchase. Do you know how your product or services solves your potential buyer’s problem? Market research can provide the answer to that very valuable question.
#9 Is there a demand in the marketplace for the new product/service idea we have?
Companies are always trying to create new products for the marketplace. Creating new products or services always requires time, energy and money. Market research can inform you about a lack of desire or desire in the marketplace before you are heavily invested in multiple capacities.
Think about your own business. Can you answer the questions listed above with full confidence?
If not, we are here to help.
RMS is a full-service market research firm located near Syracuse, New York. If you are interested in learning more about our research capabilities, please contact Sandy Baker, our Vice President of Corporate Development at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 315.635.9802.