In today’s competitive business landscape, it’s more important than ever to understand the market you are operating within. A failure to achieve this can leave a business languishing without any direction or purpose, and that means that competitors can come along and take a larger slice of the potential profits.
Market research, when conducted effectively and with purpose, can provide eye-opening insights that help to drive business strategies. Whether you’re a business owner, marketing professional, social media executive or brand manager, you’ll benefit from well-executed market research. In this article, we’ll look in-depth the 6 important use cases of market research.
What Is Market Research?
Before we look at how to effectively conduct market research, it’s worth briefly discussing what it entails.
Market research in this context is a strategic effort to gather information about a business’s target market, customers, and competitors. The idea here is to gain a full understanding of these entities, so the business can adopt strategies to help it both grow and remain competitive within the market.
Some of the key components of market research include the following:
Understanding the Market: If a business is to succeed in the long term, it needs to understand the market within which it operates. For example, market research can help a business to gather valuable information about its potential customers, as well as their preferences and behaviours.
Market Insights: If a business is to operate strategically, it needs to gain important historical and current data about the market. This can include things like identifying the size of the market, its needs, and the competition operating within it.
Business Strategy: Market research is required to form business strategies that will lead to success and growth within the market. Identifying how to adapt to competitor strategies is one consideration to make and this cannot be achieved without well-executed market research.
Why Do Businesses Use Market Research?
Now we have a definition, let’s look at the uses of market research from a business perspective. Perhaps the most important thing to remember here is that the ever-increasing digital nature of our world has paved the way for huge changes in business.
From a customer perspective, it’s great because we all have immediate access to a wide range of products and services through the internet, whether we’re browsing at home or on the go with portable devices. This allows us to shop around quickly, compare products and brands, and find the perfect solution to our needs.
However, this has also made it more difficult for businesses to stand out from the crowd. With everyone competing for the same customers, the most successful businesses find an edge over the others, and the best way to do this is to harness the power of knowledge. In this case, market research is the tool to provide that knowledge, which can then be translated into actionable business strategies.
One solution to this problem is to utilise a handful of industry leading market research tools. But in this instance we’ll examine how WatchMyCompetitor’s (WMC) competitive intelligence platform can support market research endeavours.
6 Important Uses Of Market Research
1) Product launches
When launching a new product, businesses find themselves in a vulnerable state because they face a variety of uncertainties. For example, it can be difficult to gauge market demand, gaps in the market and level of competition.
In this situation, WMC can provide businesses with insights into current market dynamics, which can help them to understand the demand for similar products, whether there are gaps in the market for it, and consumer preferences.
It can also provide real-time publicly available feedback from customers, so the business can promptly make any required changes. Furthermore, WMC will monitor competitor product launches, which can help businesses to stay one step ahead.
2) Exploring new markets
Entering a new market is daunting for businesses because, again, there are so many uncertainties, albeit with the potential for huge rewards.
WMC can ease this pressure by providing historical and current data about the competitive landscape, ranging from past product launches to marketing strategies. Furthermore, if a business is operating in a new international market, WMC can collect valuable foreign language data in real-time, such as regulatory updates or major announcements by local companies.
3) Pricing Strategies
One of the most difficult components for businesses to master is a pricing strategy. With so much competition out there, it can be tricky to know where to place your product.
One of the benefits of WMC is that it provides businesses with insights into competitors’ prices, as well as real-time updates about price changes, which allows for prompt changes when required. Furthermore, WMC can also collect data about how price changes impact demand and traffic, so businesses can identify optimal price points for their products.
4) Gauging consumer sentiment
What many businesses seem to neglect is a post-sale strategy. However, understanding how your customers feel about your products and services is vital because it means you can make changes if necessary.
With WMC, you can capture real-time feedback from customers due to its ability to perform automated tracking across all publicly available online channels, including social media. Therefore, businesses can track feedback, specific keywords, and so on to understand customer sentiments.
This is also an effective way to conduct market research into competitors, so businesses can make strategic changes if required.
5) Sales improvement strategies
The primary goal of most businesses is to continue to increase sales and revenue. However, to do this well, there needs to be an evidence-based strategy in play.
Another benefit of WMC is that it can help businesses to conduct sales funnel analysis. For example, market research can be conducted to discover the most popular ways customers are referred to a product, how well marketing strategies are working, and where any bottlenecks may be occurring. By mapping the customer journey like this, businesses can then use this data to streamline the experience and plan for future campaigns.
6) Competitor analysis
Something else to consider is that competitor analysis is crucial for business success. If a business doesn’t understand how its competitors are behaving in the market, how can it adapt and stay one step ahead?
With WMC, businesses can receive real-time updates about any changes made to competitors’ websites, so strategies can be adapted promptly if required. Furthermore, businesses can use these tools to collect data that helps to identify strengths and weaknesses in competitor approaches.