Important Questions Your Market Research Should Answer
Creating a product or service that people want can be tricky. There are so many factors you need to take into consideration before you even launch your product or service into the market - what you want to offer might not be suitable for your target audience, the market might be oversaturated, the risks might outway the reward, and so much more. It may seem like an uphill battle but with proper market research, you can overcome these obstacles and find the right solution for your business and target market.
Market research is the process of gathering, analysing, and interpreting information about a new product or service by engaging directly with the customer. It helps you understand who your customers are, how they feel about your products or services, and what they really want from them. So what questions should your market research answer for you to provide great value to your customers?
- Who is your target customer?
A target customer is someone you need to prioritise. This is who you’ll focus on selling your products or services to because they are the group that is most likely to buy them. Some of the information you need about your customers include:
- Demographic - gender, age, income, education
- Geographic - region and climate
- Psychographic - attitudes, values, lifestyle
- Behaviour - product loyalty and brand loyalty
This information is crucial so that you can better understand who you are selling to.
2. What are your customers willing to pay for?
Price is only one of many variables that determine the value of a product. If anything, price is often associated with prestige - like luxury products. But there are other factors that affect a customer’s willingness to pay:
- The convenience of the product or service
- Ease of use
- The quality of the product or service
- The credibility of a brand
- Their value perception
3. Why should people buy your product or service?
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to reaching your customers. Different customer segments will have different needs and desires and will therefore have different motivations for buying your product or service. When researching these motivations, you need to look beyond the features and benefits of your product and service and additionally look at the value proposition. For example, let's say two people buy vegetables from different places. Person A buys from a grocery store because they think the quality is better while person B buys from a local market because they think the price point is better. You need to understand what motivates the decisions people make and consider what choices they make when it comes to your product.
4. Where do people get information about your product or service?
You need to know exactly where and how people find out about your business and the products or services you offer. This will help you understand which marketing channels you need to focus on. Some questions that you should ask are:
- What is their main source of information? Is it search engines like Google? Social media sites like Facebook or Instagram?
- Word of mouth recommendations versus advertisements? Which one are people more likely to respond to and trust?
- Credibility? Are people more inclined to trust websites with higher credibility such as Amazon?
- Are there specific blogs or forums where your target market likes to spend time reading about products like yours
5. What are people’s attitudes and opinions about the features of your products or services?
There are features that are more important to your customers than others. It’s important to distinguish between the two. You also need to understand the reasons why customers are satisfied or dissatisfied with your product or service. This will help you identify areas that you need to improve or stop focusing on.
6. Who are your competitors?
Knowing who else is trying to reach your target audience, as well as their strengths and weaknesses is important. It can give you insight into your business, your products and services, and your customers. Consider how each competitor is different from you and whether or not that difference makes them better than you. If there are enough similarities between your brand and another, that’s an indicator that you need to differentiate yourself in order to stand out and convince your customers to choose you.
7. What are some unaddressed or undeserved customer needs that can be converted into selling opportunities?
Unaddressed and underserved needs are the needs that your product or service provides that your competitors don’t. When you understand what they are for your customers, you can develop marketing and sales initiatives to address these needs in a way that makes them more visible and desirable. This also gives you an advantage over your competitors. To achieve this, you have to design your products or services in an innovative way that meets these needs in a way that is beneficial to your customers. For example, if you're selling software-as-a-service (SaaS) products, offering your customers a self-service portal where they can manage their own accounts without needing assistance from any of your staff members may be of added value. This will save them money on personnel costs while increasing productivity and compliance with regulations (for example, by helping ensure that data is archived appropriately)
8. What features of your product or service can you upgrade to make it better?
Upgrading your product or service, or innovation as we call it, is vital. Not only does it open up new market opportunities, but it also ensures customer happiness. Consider what features are important to your customers that you haven’t currently implemented in your service and why. When your upgrade provides a benefit, such as improved efficiency, your customer satisfaction rates increase.
9. What problem are you solving, and who will benefit from it?
The main reason for conducting market research is to understand the problem you're solving. If a product or service doesn't solve a problem, it won't be successful.
Market research also helps you understand who will benefit from your solution and how they'll benefit. This information will determine what features to include in your product or service, and how much it should cost.
You can learn more about customers' attitudes, behaviours, trends and preferences by researching the industry they're part of—for example:
- What are their needs?
- How can those needs be met?
- What are their motivations for buying this type of product/service?
- What do they expect from such products/services?
- Do these expectations match yours (and why not)?
These questions serve as a starting point. There are a myriad of questions you can ask, depending on what your research goals are. The key is to be thoughtful about the problem statement. From here, you can select the right questions that’ll help you understand your target customer’s needs better.
Innovation is a continuous process, and consequently market research. Your customers' needs, wants and goals are continually changing so you need to ask these questions regularly as new data becomes available. Email us today via firstname.lastname@example.org to get a deeper understanding of your customer.