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Office Max Near Me: Conducting market research is crucial if you’re planning on launching a new product or service.
Finally, launching a product or service is a risky endeavor.
Try to anticipate challenges, and use your research to devise ways to tackle any problems that arise.
Researching Your Target Customers
Gather demographic information about their consumer base.
Learn about your likely audience’s age, location, gender, income level, and other details.
For instance, you can find plenty of useful demographic information on your government’s census website.
- Demographic information can help you figure out who your consumer base is and how to appeal to them.
- If you want to open a coffee shop, for example, researching prospective locations’ median income and foot traffic can help you choose the right spot for your business.
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Design surveys to learn about consumers’ needs.
Study how consumers buy products or services similar to your own.
And what factors go into their decision-making process.
If possible, offer an incentive for completing the survey, such as a coupon for your product or service.
- Good survey questions include “When choosing which product to buy, which is more important: price or quality,” and “Rank the following list of product features in order of importance, where 1 is most important and 5 is least important.”
- You can use an inexpensive survey hosting website to conduct the survey, hire a market research firm, or administer it yourself.
- If you choose to administer it yourself, you can post it on your social media pages. If you already operate an existing business, conduct the survey through its social media accounts and mailing lists.
Find out what kind of messaging resonates with your audience.
Investigate where and how you should advertise your product or service.
You’ll need to learn details like the websites your target customer browses.
And whether your marketing materials should appeal to logic or emotion.
This is also known as Interest Based targeting.
Either ask potential customers directly through surveys or look online for published market research.
- Try searching online for university research studies and trade publications on marketing trends related to your product or service.
- Suppose you’re a pet groomer and are launching a new boarding service.
- You’d want to place your ads at strategic spots like pet-related websites or a billboard that overlooks a dog park.
- Your ads also need to convince your audience that your product or service is worth their trust and money. To resonate with your consumer base, for instance, your pet boarding ads need to showcase expertise, reliability, and safe, clean facilities. This can be done with one of the best online marketing ad tools which is known as Remarketing.
Conduct focus groups and trials to refine your product or service.
Recruit participants to test your product or service at a focus group or on a trial basis at their homes.
Have them offer feedback on their experiences, and use that information to make any necessary improvements.
- Testing your product or service can help you prevent hiccups when you actually launch it.
- You can hire an outside party to conduct focus groups, or recruit participants through social media or your business’s network if you already operate one.
Tip: Before launching your product or service, offer trials, demos, and other promotions to influencers to build hype.
For instance, send your new self-cleaning coffee maker to people with major Instagram followings so they’ll promote your product.
Analyzing Industry Standards and Competitors
Research businesses competing for your target customers.
Find out which other businesses sell products or services similar to your own.
Figure out how saturated your market is and how many options consumers have at their disposal.
Use that information to decide whether there’s enough demand for you to enter the market.
- For instance, if you’re opening a hair salon and there are already 4 salons in a neighborhood, it may be hard for you to be competitive in that location.
Tip: You should also look for ways to set yourself apart from the competition.
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Investigate pricing and profit margins in your industry.
Look into price ranges for products or services of comparable quality as your own.
- For example, suppose you make jewelry and want to sell it online.
- If parts for a piece of jewelry cost $15, you spent 4 hours making it, and you set your hourly wage at $15, the item’s price needs to be at least $75 ($15 times 4 hours is $60, plus $15 for parts).
- If similar products are significantly less expensive, you could find ways to make your parts cheaper, such as buying in bulk. You could also market your work as exceptional or unique (perhaps your jewelry is made of sea glass from the Amalfi coast), or settle for a lower wage or profit margin.
Study your competitors’ brands to differentiate your business.
Review your competitors’ branding, and look for ways you can stand out from the crowd.
Establish who your business is, what promises you’re making to consumers, and how you’re different from other brands.
- Suppose you want to open a brewery. To set your business apart, you could include a pub and bottle shop that sells a wide variety of beer and wine. While all the neighboring breweries just offer tours and tastings, you could market your brand as a destination that offers something consumers can’t find elsewhere.
- A company’s brand tells a consumer base who it is and what it offers. A branding strategy communicates that identity through marketing materials, from hashtags to billboards.
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Identify your industry’s key performance indicators.
You’ll need measurable, objective standards in order to track your business’s progress.
These standards are called key performance indicators, and they vary by industry.
Learn about how businesses in your industry measure their success by tracking factors such as unique website clicks, profit margins, cost of goods sold, and customer retention rates.
- For example, a restaurant’s beer, wine, and spirits cost should be about 20% of its beverage sales ($20 of the product should generate $100 in sales). If your bistro’s alcohol costs are 29%, you’ll need to take steps to improve your performance, such as adjusting your pricing or conducting thorough inventory checks.
- Search online, check trade publications, or talk to an experienced business owner in your network about your industry’s specific performance measurements.
Assessing Risks and Problems
Evaluate the reliability of your suppliers and distributors.
Identify where you’ll source any parts or supplies you’ll need and how you’ll deliver your product or service to consumers.
Make sure you’ll have a consistent supply chain, and try to anticipate any problems that could arise.
Come up with backup plans ahead of time in case you need to deal with unforeseen supply chain issues.
- Suppose you’re launching a new hot sauce and your recipe depends on the specifically dried chili pepper.
- You’ll need to know where to source that specialty product, where you can get it if your primary source falls through, how long it takes to order and receive it, the pepper’s shelf life, and how you’ll store back stock.
Look up the laws and regulations related to your business.
Inevitably, your business will need to comply with one regulation or another.
So familiarize yourself with all laws that govern your industry.
Additionally, use your research to create contingency plans in the event you run into a compliance issue.
- For example, your hot sauce could get recalled due to faulty packaging, or your pub could fail a health inspection. Knowing packaging standards or health codes in advance can help you prevent issues and promptly resolve any accidents that happen along the way.
Create a list of outside forces and events that could affect your industry.
Thinking about what could go wrong isn’t fun, but it’s important to be realistic about risk.
From weather and natural disasters to the economic downturn, research the likelihood of forces beyond your control that could threaten your business.
Do your best to create strategies to minimize your risk and respond to any outside threats.
- For example, tense political conditions in the country where your hot sauce’s chili peppers grow could threaten your production.
- Say your state’s legislature has been debating a bill that would raise taxes on the product you’re launching. Consider how that would affect your bottom line and whether you could afford to stay in business if it passed.
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Search online for helpful local or national government resources for small business owners. For example, in the U.S., visit https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/plan-your-business or, if you live in Canada, check out https://canadabusiness.ca/business-planning/market-research-and-statistics.