Practical tips on Market Research

When talking to clients for the first time I ask them what they know about their market.

Who is your customer? What are their needs? Do you know how big the market is? Who else is offering the same product and service and at what price?

You can do market research in 3 main ways:

  1. Talk face to face with people. You can do this at exhibitions, trade shows, focus groups or by carrying out a survey. By talking to people face to face you get an honest reaction from them; you can see how they respond. However it does take time and not everyone is good at asking questions.
  2. Telephone people. By talking to people on the phone you can access more people in a shorter time and if you listen well it can be effective. However you may not get to talk to the people you want or get the right person you want to talk to.
  3. Questionnaire: Either by post or email. You can access a lot of people quickly to get the specific answers you are looking for. However the questionnaire can be hard to design and response rates can be very low. Use published material:

Government statistics and published market research reports are readily accessible on the internet and are an invaluable source of statistical information. (This information is accessible on the resources section of our website split into industry type e.g. food, tourism etc.)

Rudyard Kipling – wrote: "I Keep six honest serving-men: (They taught me all I knew), Their names are What and Where and When And How and Why and Who. These are the same principles you need to think about when planning your questions:

What are your customers needs?

Where are you aiming to sell? Where do your customers usually buy?

When/how often do your customers need to buy?

How much do customers usually pay?

Why will they buy from you? Why are you different?

Who do you hope to sell to?

Regardless of which way you go about conducting your research its important to list the questions you want answered before you start. Don’t just interview family and friends – this will not give you a true picture of your market. You should have confidence in the results of your research. Ideally after your research you should have a picture of your potential customers and what they want.

LEO Galway runs workshops on marketing your business - for details on upcoming training sessions, click HERE