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How to determine marketing needs

September 30, 2021

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Marketing professionals incorporate many different strategies into their work to appeal to potential customers. One aspect of this work is determining market needs to find the best ways to reach an audience. If you’re interested in a career in marketing, learning about the strategies related to market needs may prepare you to work in the field. In this article, we explain what market needs are and provide a list of nine strategies to help you define market needs for your company.

What are market needs?

Market needs refer to the functional needs, desires and goals of a target audience. A company may identify an area of the market with unmet needs and create a product or service that addresses them. If that audience has a large amount of need, the company may receive a significant profit. Some details that marketing professionals look for to determine market needs may include:

Size of the market

Customer buying patterns

State of the current market

How to distribute the product

9 ways to define market needs

When marketing professionals begin to define the market needs for their audience or product, they may follow a few different strategies depending on their goals and objectives. Some ways to define market needs may include:

1. Be introspective

One way to begin the process of defining the market needs of your particular audience is through introspection. For example, imagine your target audience is parents with young children who are starting school. Your marketing team might gather people in the office who fit this description. Then, you can ask these employees to walk through different details about their day. This may reveal gaps in the market for various products or for services that need improvement. Introspection may be a valuable resource for helping you determine what market needs exist for your business.

2. Conduct interviews

One strategy for learning more about market needs involves conducting interviews with potential customers or members of the target audience. These interviews are a qualitative method for learning what the actual customers think about your particular product, service or marketing strategy. You might ask these customers about how much they would pay for a similar product, how likely they are to consistently buy your product or what changes they’d make to the service if they had the opportunity. Their answers may guide decisions about improving the product or altering the marketing strategy.

3. Analyze the competitors

If you have a few different competitors in your market, consider analyzing their strategies for marketing. You may notice that certain strategies had a more positive impact on the competitor’s target audience than others. You can use information from their marketing platforms to better understand how they approach the target audience. Then, consider implementing similar strategies to compete with them in the market.

4. Consider cultural components

Another aspect of defining market needs relates to particular cultural components. For example, imagine your company wants to market a product internationally. It’s important to conduct research about the relevant audience in each country you hope to export your product to. This may inform your marketing strategy in each location. It can provide insight into the different markets interested in the product based on the location, language and corresponding culture. It’s common for cultures to have a variety of needs, so it’s imperative to analyze these components.

4. Narrow your niche

Some products may appeal to a wide audience. However, when you narrow your niche or find ways to appeal to a smaller audience, you can become more specific with your marketing strategy. By narrowing your audience, you may increase the success of particular marketing campaigns. Additionally, a small portion of your target audience may have different market needs than others, which may require you to design specific promotions for that niche group.

5. Define your target market

One of the primary ways to define market needs is by first defining your target market. It’s important to define this market in order to ensure that you create promotions and products that effectively appeal to a particular facet of the market. You might determine your target market after finding a gap in the market, or vice versa. For example, imagine that your company designs outdoor gear. Your marketing team might notice that there’s a gap in the outdoor gear market for older adults, so they may propose an idea for a new product line to the design team.

6. Determine emotional needs

Depending on your particular product or service, you might decide to focus on the emotional needs of your target audience. Emotional needs are one element of market needs that may not apply widely to all products on the market. However, if you decide to appeal to your audience through emotion, it’s important to understand what approach to take. For example, if your target audience focuses on families, you may appeal to the emotions related to positive family relations, such as love or feelings of comfort.

7. Differentiate your business

Another aspect of defining the market needs for your product or audience is by understanding what gaps the competitors fill and implementing differentiation. This involves the development of unique features, which may include lower prices, better service, higher quality materials or other aspects of your product that can distinguish your work from that of your competitors. Differentiation may address a market need that attracts specific customers.

8. Attend relevant events

One strategy for identifying market needs is by attending relevant events. This is a qualitative approach that attempts to see the market from the customer’s point of view. For example, if your company designs coffee-making products, you may send your marketing team to several different coffee shops within your city. While there, the team might take note of the demographics of customers. This data may inform the team about what market needs exist in their specific location.

9. Use a quantitative approach

A quantitative approach for defining market needs may vary based on the specifics of your company, target audience or product. Some methods for evaluating market needs through quantitative data include:

Survey data: One method of gathering data from customers is by sending out a survey. You can ask a variety of questions about customer preferences to determine the types of market needs that exist within your current target audience.

Correlational data: This research focuses on how two different variables impact one another. For example, you may research how the method of marketing influences the number of engagements your website receives.

Comparative data: This research focuses on the comparison between two different variables. For example, you might compare how effective your marketing strategy is when you appeal to a large audience versus a smaller, niche audience.

How to determine marketing needs

Discover the eight essential steps you need to follow to market your business.

Step 1

Conduct market research

Market research is a key part of developing your marketing strategy. It is about collecting information that provides an insight into your customers thinking, buying patterns, and location. In addition, market research can also assist you to undertake an initial sales forecast, monitor market trends and keep an eye on what your competition is doing.

Step 2

Profile your target markets

Trying to promote your product or service to everyone can be costly and ineffective. Grouping or segmenting your potential customers based on certain characteristics will help to focus your marketing efforts.

Generally segmentation is based on factors such as:

  1. Geography
    • Where do they live?
    • Where do they work?
  2. Demographics
    • Gender
    • Age
    • Level of education
    • Occupation
    • Income
  3. Behaviour
    • What is the primary reason they would use your product or service?
    • What appeals to them about your particular brand?
    • What are their usage rates of your product or service?
    • Where do they typically source information about your type of product or service?
  4. Lifestyle and values
    • What is their family situation?
    • What do they value in their lives?
    • What are their hobbies and interests?
    • Do they have children?
    • Do they have pets?

Your target market should have a need for your product or service and be willing to pay for your offer.

Step 3

Identify your unique selling proposition (USP)

A USP is the unique reason your customers buy from you and not your competitors – it’s what makes your business stand out from the crowd. It is important to define what you do differently and be able to convey that to potential customers. Commonly, this reflects your special knowledge or skills.

Your USP may be having a new or unique offering or providing exceptional service. Start developing your USP by answering the following questions:

  • What do you love most about your products and services?
  • What special skills or knowledge do you have?
  • What makes your customers come to you instead of your competitors?
  • How do your customers benefit by purchasing your products or services?
  • Which aspects do you generally highlight when you describe your business to strangers?

Step 4

Develop your business brand

Every business, regardless of size, is likely to need a brand. A brand is more than a logo, colour or tagline. A well-articulated brand emotionally connects with your target customers and conveys who you are, what you stand for and what you can deliver.

Step 5

Choose your marketing avenues

While there are many available, consider your target audience when you are determining which to use.

  • a business website
  • social media
  • blogging
  • brochures and flyers
  • networking events
  • print advertising
  • word of mouth
  • cold calling
  • letter drops.

Step 6

Set your goals and budget

Marketing goals will help you to define what you want to achieve through your marketing activities. Your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.

You will also need to allocate a budget to your marketing activities. Your marketing budget will need to include elements such as:

  • website development and maintenance
  • search engine optimisation strategy
  • design of branding
  • printing of promotional material (business cards, brochures, signage, etc)
  • advertising
  • donations and sponsorships
  • employing staff to undertake marketing activities.

Marketing plan template

As a general rule of thumb you should spend between three and five percent of your actual or expected annual turnover on marketing. If your business is new you may need to allocate more funds initially to build your business profile.

To help you create a marketing plan for your business, download our free template and how to guide.

Step 7

Nurture your loyal customers

Your customers are the key to your success so it is important to look after them and encourage loyalty. Providing exceptional customer service can keep people coming back and set you apart from your competitors.

Strategies to build loyalty in customers include:

  • communicating regularly with customers through social media, blogs or e-news
  • providing after-sale follow up
  • delivering on your promises
  • going the ‘extra mile’ and providing benefits that exceed initial expectations
  • using feedback and complaints as an opportunity to improve services
  • listening to customers
  • training staff in customer service and basic sales processes.

Step 8

Monitor and review

It is important to regularly monitor and review your marketing activities to determine whether they are achieving the desired outcome, such as increased sales. Initially you should review your marketing plan every three months to ensure your activities are supporting your strategy. Once your business becomes more established review your plan when you introduce a new product or service, if a new competitor enters the market or if an issue arises that affects your industry.

Monitoring activities may include reviewing your sales figures on a regular basis (monthly) or monitoring customer activity during an advertising campaign. You can also access and review free analytic tools to determine the effectiveness of your social media or website campaigns.

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When you own a business, it’s important to target potential customers who have a genuine interest in your products and services. Identifying the right consumers can make all the difference in the success of your business and can help boost your revenue in the long run. In this article, we define what a target market is, explain the importance of identifying your target market and provide you with the steps to find your own target market.

What is a target market?

A target market refers to the demographic you want to reach with your particular products and services. When you have a business, for example, your target market refers to the specific group of people to who you want to sell your products and services. Target markets often have the same characteristics such as the following:

Consumers who share these characteristics often value the same products and services. For example, people with higher incomes are more willing to purchase more expensive clothing. Narrowing down these characteristics can help you find your target market. Keep in mind that businesses may have more than one target market. In this case, they may have a primary target market and a secondary market that while not as large, may have growth potential in the future.

Why should you identify your target market?

Identifying your target market can help you make more strategic decisions regarding your business. Essentially, it paves an effective, affordable and efficient way for you to generate more business. Here are some additional reasons as to why you should find your target market:

Strategic marketing plans

Identifying your target market allows you to reach a specific group of people through various sales and marketing tactics. For example, the better you know your target, the more effective marketing plan you can create. A successful marketing plan accounts for the best ways to reach your target market and decides on marketing messages that will resonate with them the most.

Important business decisions

Identifying your target marking and developing a marketing plan can help you make strategic decisions regarding product distribution, product prices and overall promotion efforts. This can help your business cut down on time and unnecessary expenses.

Product development and adjustments

Identifying your market and its particular needs can help you create products and services that better meet their interests and needs. Knowing your target audience can also help you make strategic adjustments to your current product lineup to make them more desirable for various consumers.

Greater revenue

Understanding your target market can help you secure more sales from consumers who are genuinely interested in the products and services you have to offer. For example, instead of casting a wide net and targeting a group of people with varying interests, knowing your target market ensures you’re reaching people who can add to your revenue.

Outperforming competitors

Identifying your target market ensures you’re not sitting back and letting your competitors boost their revenue while you take a shoot on new clients and customers without knowing their interests. Having a competitive advantage can help you find more success in your industry overall.

How to identify your target market

To run a successful business, you need to know who your products and services appeal to the most. Keep in mind that targeting a particular market doesn’t mean you’re excluding certain consumers from your products and services. Rather, it helps you focus your money, time and resources on people who are more likely to do business with you. Use these steps to identify your target market:

1. Identify your existing customers

Before you consider your target market, reflect on your current customer base. Consider their characteristics and interests and look for commonalities. Likely, other people with the same characteristics and interests may also benefit from your products and services. It’s especially important to identify your current customers who generate the most business for you. From here, you’re better equipped to narrow down your target market.

2. Check out your competitors

Scoping out your competition can help you identify your target market more efficiently. Determine who they’re targeting and who they’re currently targeting. Aim your efforts on other markets and focus on any niche markets they may have overlooked.

3. Analyze your offerings

Compile a list of your current products and services and their unique features. Then, list the specific benefits they provide. For example, a clothing store may offer winter clothing that benefits prospective customers who want to stay warm during chilly months. Helping them stay warm and filling this need may attract other customers because they already see how the store’s offerings are helping others with the same need. Therefore, the clothing store is generating more business and therefore, more money.

Once you’ve made a list of the benefits your products and services provide, create a list of people who could benefit from your offerings. Essentially, list people who need that your products and services can fulfill. Using the clothing store example, it may choose to target consumers who want winter shoes to complete their ensemble.

4. Segment your larger market

Once you’ve determined your overall market, narrow it down by looking at various demographical factors such as age, location, marital status, income level and gender. Doing this helps you identify which groups are more likely to buy your products or services.

You can also consider their lifestyles, personality and specific interests or hobbies. For example, think of how they’ll use your products and services in their everyday lives and what features they may find the most appealing.

5. Re-assess your target market

Once you’ve identified your target market, evaluate your decision-making process. Consider whether you included enough people to fit your criteria, whether your target audience will truly benefit from your products and services and whether or not they can afford your products and services. It’s also important to determine whether or not you understand your target audience and its own decision-making process. If you happen to have more than one target market, consider catering your marketing messages accordingly.

This article was co-authored by Christine Michel Carter. Christine Michel Carter is a Global Marketing Expert, Best-Selling Author, and Strategy Consultant for Minority Woman Marketing, LLC. With over 13 years of experience, Christine specializes in strategic business and marketing consulting services including market analysis, organizational alignment, portfolio review, cultural accuracy, and brand and marketing review. She is also a speaker on millennial moms and black consumers. Christine holds a BS in Business Administration and Art History from Stevenson University. She is a leader in multicultural marketing strategy and has written over 100 articles views for several publications, including TIME and Forbes Women. Christine has worked with Fortune 500 clients such as Google, Walmart, and McDonald’s. She has been featured in The New York Times, BBC News, NBC, ABC, Fox, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and Today.

There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Your marketing strategy should start with a customer problem. A successful product or service solves a problem for the customer. Perform market research to find out what your potential customers want. Use that research to determine how to position the product to meet their needs. Then, you can create a marketing strategy to attract your audience to this product. With this strategy, you want to create brand awareness, generate new leads and ultimately sell your product or service.

How to determine marketing needs

Imran Alavi
Marketing Expert Expert Interview. 31 March 2021. [2] X Research source

  • Determining who your ideal customer is will shape all of your marketing efforts for your product. In order to get the most out of your marketing budget, target your ideal customers.
  • You can determine the ideal customer through the client data you keep on your product sales. You can also survey your clients or analyze research generated by competitors in your industry or research firms. Take advantage of free consumer data from the Census Bureau and Department of Labor. [3] X Expert Source

Christine Michel Carter
Global Marketing Expert Expert Interview. 30 September 2020.

  • For example, if you sell outdoor technology equipment, your ideal customer might be a male or female between the ages of 25 and 50 years old, as these people are both more active than older people and have more disposable income than younger people.
  • In addition, you estimate that your ideal customer lives in the western US, as people there spend more time outdoors than those in other parts of the country, and has an upper level or high level of income, as your outdoor equipment is relatively expensive.
  • How to determine marketing needs

    How to determine marketing needs

    How to determine marketing needs

    How to determine marketing needs

    Imran Alavi
    Marketing Expert Expert Interview. 31 March 2021. To expand your presence in the market, consider hosting a podcast and speaking at events. If your competitors don’t use these strategies, you’ll have a chance to stand out.

  • Implement a formal system to ask clients for referrals. If a customer does give you a referral, reward them in some way. You can offer the referring customer a free gift or a purchase discount. A referral has a high probability of being converted from a prospect to a client.
  • To increase your image as an expert, consider providing seminars or webinars to your market. When people need to solve a problem, they seek out experts.
  • How to determine marketing needs

    Imran Alavi
    Marketing Expert Expert Interview. 31 March 2021. [9] X Research source

      Website/organic marketing: Optimize your website by writing relevant content, fixing errors, using compelling visuals, and avoiding relying on a website template. You should aim for a unique website design to stand out and write relevant content based on what people will organically search to rank higher in Google’s index. [10] X Expert Source

    Imran Alavi
    Marketing Expert Expert Interview. 31 March 2021.
    Paid marketing: Consider running paid ads on platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to reach out to clients who make specific searches. [11] X Expert Source

    Imran Alavi
    Marketing Expert Expert Interview. 31 March 2021.

  • Your plan should include the specific audience you are targeting. That audience is based on the traits of your ideal customer. To find out more about marketing plans, see Create a Marketing Plan.
  • Your plan should indicate a timeline for each task to be completed. If you send a monthly e-newsletter, for example, your timeline might state that each newsletter must be sent by the 5th day of each month.
  • Align your marketing calendar with consumer trends and demands. For instance, if you sell a product that is holiday-related, plan your campaigns to ramp up towards the holidays. [12] X Expert Source

    Christine Michel Carter
    Global Marketing Expert Expert Interview. 30 September 2020.

  • Assign each marketing task to a particular person. If the task is assigned, you won’t lose track of the progress of that task. Each person can update the entire group on the status of their particular task. Maybe your in-house copywriter is responsible for producing the newsletter.
  • When determining what business to start, the rule is to find out what the market needs and wants, and then address those needs in that kind of business. But how exactly do you find out what your target market wants?

    Let’s use as an example one of the questions asked at Yahoo Answers — “What business can you start that caters to the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs)?”

    OFW is the term used for Philippine citizens who work overseas on contractual basis. Examples include nurses, maids, caregivers, construction workers, crews in cruise ships or shipping vessels, etc. Labor is one of the top exports of the Philippines, and in 2008 government estimates showed that there were 1.2 million OFWs.

    OFWs are hailed in the Philippines because of the tremendous contribution they give to the country’s economy. Remittances or money sent by these OFWs back to their families in the Philippines amounted to $12.77 billion in 2006. Given the strong family values in the Philippines, it is common to find overseas Filipino workers sending half (or even more) of their income back to the Philippines — and that foreign currency inflow has significantly helped the Philippine economy.

    If this is the target market, what do they need? Often OFWs need:

    • A way to send remittances to their relatives and family back in the Philippines easier and less expensive.
    • An inexpensive and safe way to send boxes of goodies (called “balikbayan” boxes)
    • An inexpensive way to contact their families in the Philippines (e.g. inexpensive phone cards, free texting services, etc)
    • A service that will allow them to communicate with their families — think videoconferencing service for example

    But the above are markets where most businesses catering to OFWs go, which means the market is a little crowded and very competitive. Western Union, for example, is a popular service used to send remittances. Philippine banks with overseas operation also offer remittance services. Even the country’s biggest media companies such as the ABS-CBN have gotten into the remittance game.

    So if you are planning to reach this market, it is important to think of other services needed but not currently addressed, or niched areas that the big companies haven’t bothered to get into. Examples may include:

    • Address the need of OFWs in finding trustworthy recruitment agencies. OFWs typically use recruiters to help them find jobs abroad and facilitate the processing of their employment (e.g. visas, health exams, etc). Given the number of scams and fraudulent recruitment companies, many OFWs find themselves tricked into giving substantial placement fees but no overseas jobs. A review site listing rating the reputation of recruitment agencies and other OFWs enumerating their experiences with a particular agency would be extremely beneficial.
    • A directory of OFWs working in one country. One of the questions of OFWs before leaving for their work abroad is: “Who do I know who is already in Dubai/Hongkong/Taiwan, etc?” Creating a website that lists who are in New Zealand or Saudi Arabia may be useful.
    • Social networking site for Filipino workers in a particular country such as Hongkong. It is natural to find fellow countrymen in other countries, and Filipinos are no exception. Hence you have Filipino maids in Hongkong gathering in parks on Sundays during their dayoffs. Even in the US, you go to an area such as Bangor, Maine for example and ask around if there are other Filipinos in the area. Think of a more adult and mature Friendster, this time for OFWs

    Look at your target market. The only way you can determine what they need is by getting to know them. Look at how they live their lives, and make a list of what they need. Then think of a way to address those needs.

    How to determine marketing needs

    What is a marketing strategy? I like to define it as “a process that allows you to concentrate your limited resources on the greatest opportunities to increase your visibility, sales and income.”

    For example, let’s say you have the goal to enroll 3 new clients within the next 30 days. You should then focus your time, energy and resources ONLY on the necessary tasks that will allow you to reach that goal, and NOTHING else!

    How can you ensure that your marketing plan will yield the results that you seek? By making sure to:

    • Identify the needs of your ideal client and how you’ll address them.
    • Focus on specific marketing strategies to help you achieve your goals

    Identify the needs of your target market

    Having a service-based business is ALL about solving the problems your target market is struggling with. To do that, you need to be clear about what they need and what you can do to eliminate their challenges.

    For example, if you are a personal trainer, connect with what your prospects really need. It may be their goal to lose weight, build strength, increase flexibility or simply look better in the mirror.

    If you are an image consultant, what do your prospects really want? Perhaps they want to know: 1) how to make a great first impression 2) how to build confidence with a wardrobe 3) how to dress for any occasion.

    Also, you need to be able to identify the source of the problem. As a personal trainer, what caused your client to gain weight? Is it over eating, a health problem, or sheer neglect? The image consultant may find that the true lack of confidence lies in her client wearing hand-me-downs and never having the opportunity to choose her own clothes when growing up.

    When you can identify your potential clients’ needs along with the trigger point that motivates them to seek your help, the next step in your marketing strategy becomes easier to implement. All you have to do is show up in the places where they look for you, address the trigger point and deliver the solution in a format in which they will best consume it.

    Focus on specific marketing techniques

    How does your target market consume information? As a marketing consultant, 60% of my work is done via the telephone. 40% is done face to face. Also, I help my clients and my audience by providing a variety of options for them to learn from me in different formats. It is common for me to share information through:

    • Webinars
    • Teleseminars
    • Articles on the Internet and in print publications
    • Blogging
    • Social media platforms
    • Networking
    • Speaking at events

    Understand I didn’t start out with these all at once. I actually started with networking, blogging and offering teleseminars. Over time we added in the others. You can model similar strategies with your business.

    Do your research to find out where and how your audience is talking about the solutions you offer. Then determine which methods I mentioned above (or others) will best allow you to connect with the people you can do your best work with. Master one method and then move on to the next.

    Online Marketing Strategies

    Prospects WILL go online looking for information about your business. So it’s important that you control what they find. All paths in the online marketing world lead to these three steps:

    1. Getting traffic to your site
    2. Capturing the visitor’s name and email address
    3. Staying in touch to develop a relationship and present appropriate offers for products and services.

    Whatever you choose to do to market your business online, make sure it supports this three-pronged approach. If the platform, tool or methodology doesn’t support this effort, don’t waste your time on it.

    Offline Marketing Strategies

    There is plenty of opportunity to grow your business online, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore tried and true marketing strategies offline.

    Where do you start? Consider getting actively involved in a networking group that caters to your ideal client. You can also pursue speaking opportunities within these groups as well as trade organizations and associations. Identify who else is offering complementary services to your target market and develop referral relationships with those folks. You can send targeted direct mail campaigns to pre-qualified prospects and give them an irresistible offer to “taste” your services. You can always ask past and present clients for referrals.

    Resist the urge to tackle a myriad of strategies at one time. You’ll get far better results if you focus on pursuing 2-3 strategies consistently. Consistency is KEY and makes all the difference in ensuring you stay top of mind with your audience.

    Now, you are equipped to create your very own marketing strategy to build a solid base of prospective clients. Get to it! Show up where your audience is already looking for you and solve their problems!

    Your Action Plan For This Week:

    by Kyle SoloRio , on October 10, 2012

    How to determine marketing needs

    Market research can be used in identifying customer needs, as well as who they are. You have to ask the right questions though. If you don’t really know your customers you will not retain them leaving you constantly chasing after new ones. Don’t just follow your instincts as many companies do. Use market research reports, focus groups and market surveys. Take the time too really get to know them. Ask the right questions; get the facts; and discover how to motivate your customers.

    We are motivated by two things, praise or reward. It’s kind of funny, whether you are 3 years old or 43 years old, it’s the same. I can make my son do chores or homework without a fight simply by offering him ice cream. I know I am willing to go the extra mile for an adult version of ice cream (for me that’s the latest teckie gadget). Oh heck… who am I kidding? Real ice cream still works for me too. The point is how do you motivate your customers?

    Achieving this is not just as simple as asking the right questions. There are many details to figure out and it is highly recommended that you use experienced researchers or consultants.How to determine marketing needs

    • How do you define which customers to talk to?
    • How do you decide on a format for your research?
    • How do you know what type of questions to ask to get to know your customers?
    • What attributes or demographics are important in getting to know your customers?
    • How do you use the data once it is collected?

    Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of a few strategies to really get to know your customers:

    1. Surveys

    Surveys are the staple of market research, however you have to know how and when to use the three types of questions: Opened-Ended, Closed-Ended and Strategic.

    Opened-ended questions can provide a lot of information, but often they do not provide all the detail you need.

    The short answers you get from Closed-Ended questions can often grind a conversation to a halt.

    Strategic questions tend to treat the customer as the expert and lead to a deeper conversation which in turn helps you really know how you can help that customer. Giving the customer more freedom in answering your question lets them provide you with their agenda (not yours).

    All three types of questions serve a purpose and are helpful. An experienced researcher knows how to use them all to help you gather the best information about your customer.

    Some things to avoid in surveys are leading questions. This type of question drives customers to answer in a very specific or biased way which doesn’t actually allow them to tell you how they really feel. Also keep in mind that surveys are really good at gathering data such as how much or how often, but they fail to convey your customer’s feelings and emotions.

    Of course you don’t want to ask the wrong questions on your survey either. Figuring out the right questions may require some research of its own.

    2. Focus Groups

    Focus Groups are also an essential part of market research and here too it is important to use researchers that are well skilled in moderating and interpreting conversations. You will find that experienced focus group facilitators have developed a sort of sixth sense about what’s up when watching or talking to a participant. Focus groups are great because they can really help you understand how your customer interacts with your product.

    Look out for dominators in a focus group. You really don’t want the most talkative person to mask the voices of the others in the group. A skilled moderator will be able to hear all the voices in the group and prevent the most extroverted participants from forcing the less talkative to feel like they have to agree with them.

    Just like with surveys, be careful not to lead members of the group to an answer. You want their unbiased opinions.

    3. Ethnographic Studies

    Ethnographic Studies are in depth interviews with your customers. They have some major advantages over surveys and focus groups in terms of understanding consumers for the simple reason that they allow liberal variations and follow up questions.

    With this type of research the company actually observes the participant, which gives you 1st hand knowledge about your customer.

    This type of data gathering is tricky as it takes someone with great skill to correctly interpret the ethnographic data. If the analysis is incorrect, you’ll find you haven’t learned much about your customer or even worse what do you learn may be misleading.

    Now, for the cherry on top of the ice cream, you simply have to analyze the data. Easy, right! As long as you have skilled researchers that know how to interpret the data correctly you will find that through market research you can know everything you need to know about your customers. If you know your customers, you will know how to motivate them towards your end goal!

    To learn more about how market research can help your company achieve success, download our free eBook.