The market research process is one of the most important tasks for companies of all sizes across verticals. It can provide you insights into various things. You can discover new product or service opportunities, identify target customers’ needs and pain points. More importantly, you can use the findings to make data-driven business decisions.
To win the market research game and stay ahead of the competition you must structurize it. There are specific steps that you can replicate every time you research to get tangible results. Let’s see which steps you must take and what tasks you must complete to triumph the market research process.
Market Research Process – Goals and Objectives
You should start looking at the market research process as if it was a scientific study. Every scientific education or research has a defined goal and objective. Often, multiple targets and objectives. You can’t plan your market research initiative or choose the right research methodology if you don’t know what you are trying to achieve.
The best way to do it is to identify the problems you want to solve. For instance, you might want to examine the market saturation, volatility, or customer purchasing habits and preferences. Each one of these problems can be transformed into a research problem. For each one of them, there is the right market research study.
Let’s say you want to find out what is the current situation with market saturation. You will have to analyze the competition, their supply chain, pricing policy, and inventory to find out the gaps you need to fill in.
Whatever the problem is, you must be pristine clear when defining it. Once you’ve defined the research goals and objectives, you can easily communicate to your market research team what you want to achieve. The best way to nail down identifying a problem and defining goals and objectives is to include managers of all departments that stand to benefit from the market research results.
Design The Research Methodology
Do you go with a quantitative or qualitative market research design? How do you know which one to pick? There are different market research studies, but there is only one right research study for you. However, now that you have defined research goals and objectives, pinpointing the right research methodology is easy.
Choosing the research methodology will also point you towards proper data collection tools you should use to get your hands-on useful data. These tools can range from short questionnaires and pop quizzes to focus group discussions and phone interviews.
You will also have to choose what geographies you want to cover. For instance, the design for researching a local market and the remote one will significantly differ in terms of data collection tools used.
During this stage, you mustplan ahead and get all your assets and resources ready. Besides determining the budget for your market research process, you will have to get all the materials ready. If you choose to go with focus groups, you will have to find relevant moderators and give them all the required documents.
For interviews in person or over the phone, you will have to get questionnaires ready.
Recording and Storing the Raw Data
Like any other business process, the market research process also generates deliverables. In this scenario, the deliverable is data. The type and size of data will vary depending on the data collection tools you use. The data can come in various forms ranging from video and audio recording to completed questionnaires and observation notes.
This is what we call raw data. The most critical thing you should take care of during this stage is to ensure the data is error-free. The success of your market research effort depends on data integrity. Bad data leads to wrong insights, and wrong insights result in costly business mistakes.
Gather your entire market research team and communicate the importance of data integrity. Have your most trustworthy managers perform data integrity checks at regular time intervals. In the best-case scenario, you want to check your data for errors every day.
Data processing encompasses numerous tasks designed to make sense of all that raw data you collect during market research. This is a very important step as it allows you to consolidate your data sets into one big and structured set you can process. Data processing becomes even more critical if you have to handle different types of data sets.
If you do a lot of ground data gathering, your teams will have to digitize the data. The goal is to end up spreadsheets loaded with data. When you have data files ready, you can decide which data analysis software you can use.
Bear in mind that data processing takes a while. Should you need the results as soon as possible, consider processing data on the go. Break down your data into sequences and apply data processing on one data batch at a time.
Data Analysis and Extraction
After the data processing is done, you are ready for data analysis and extraction. Take all your data files and load them into the relevant data analysis software. The software will help you identify patterns in your data set and discover correlations between variables.
Data analysis and extraction give your data meaning and enable you to get actionable insights from it. This would be the right time to revisit your research goals and objectives. Focus on analyzing data in relevance to goals and objectives to get deliverables your managers can use.
Market Research Report and Presentation
Every market research process generates a lot of data. Even after processing and analyzing it with a software tool, you will still have a lot of useless data insights. Stick to the goals and objectives so that you can communicate the actionable information.
That’s why we have a market research report and presentation as the final step of the entire process. In this stage, you take all the information you got during the data analysis and extraction phase and present it in an easy-to-consume manner.
You can rank the findings based on their importance and relevance to objectives and goals. You can also add recommended actions based on the results. To make the market research report and presentation as relevant as possible, you should include decision-makers in the process.
The best thing about knowing the steps to triumph with the market research process is that they are repeatable. You can go through each one of them every time you plan to launch such research even though goals and objectives might change.