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Market research is a fundamental staple of business planning for companies of all shapes and sizes and across all industries. Most business owners realize this, but when it comes to execution, they lack direction or finesse. As a result, research is plagued with irrelevant or inaccurate information, and your marketing and advertising campaigns fail to meet expectations.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to improve the quality of your market research.
When you’re working with individuals, try to capture as much video as possible, using the video recording platform of your choice. It’s one thing to read a survey response from a participant who says they enjoy using your product. It’s another to see their face light up when they discover a certain feature or see them struggle in confusion when trying to figure out how to use it. Video can reveal truths that other tools can’t.
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Use both quantitative and qualitative data.
Many market researchers get stuck in one mode to inform their actions. Either quantitative or qualitative data takes precedence, but it is the combination of both that offers a clearer picture. Gathering numerical survey responses for the purposes of crunching those numbers algorithmically and generating graphs will reveal a certain type of data. In contrast, subjective data gathered from activities like reviewing how people respond emotionally to different questions, or how they behave when using your product reveals a different kind of results. The best course of action is to integrate both into your market research, getting the best of both worlds.
Work with a market research expert.
It is always a good idea to work with an expert when engaging in market research. Depending on your budget and the nature of your business, this could mean working with a market research firm, hiring a full-time market research expert, or working with a consultant.
Test under multiple conditions.
Just because a trend emerges under one set of testing conditions doesn’t mean it should lead to a universal conclusion. Try to run tests under a variety of conditions. You may seek out subjects to participate in your research in different ways. Seek feedback from different environments. Consider collecting data at different times of the day. Every variable you adjust could render significant and important information.
Look at demographics you might otherwise neglect.
Though knowing your customers is important, it is important to not get tunnel vision. Just because you strongly feel that one demographic will be key to your business doesn’t mean they’re the only demographic that matters. Consider multiple demographics, including demographics you had not previously engaged.
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Challenge your assumptions.
Bias can easily compromise your market research, even if you are utilizing tools to conduct research properly. One of the best things you can do to compensate for bias is to challenge your assumptions. Question your presumptions about the market you are researching. Put those presumptions to the test. Investigate ideas contrary to your perspective for insight.
Increase your market research sample size.
Generally, the bigger your sample is, the more reliable your data is going to be. If there are 10 million people in your target demographic, surveying all 10 million of them should render the perfect data set for product development. Merely surveying 5 of those people will not come close to accuracy or reliability. You’ll need to engage a significant sample set to achieve reliable results.
Market Research Improvement Takes Time
Your market research isn’t going to go from unreliable to accurate overnight. You will have to make gradual, iterative improvements. It’s on you to instate new protocols and invest in new modes of research until you have a system that works. Keep making adjustments as you learn new things. There will always be room for improvement.