Enhancing Customer/Market Knowledge
Marketing research could enhance the entrepreneur’s customer and market knowledge. It is after all better to ask the customers themselves than to make assumptions about them.
While many small business startups manage to survive without having conducted any formal market research activity such as surveys or focus group discussions, many successful startups manage to get their market information one way or another, perhaps using methods that are not necessarily scientific but which can still suffice.
Entrepreneurs may not initially afford conducting usage, awareness, and image (UAI) studies, but they can do some low cost research on their own, such as interviewing their customers or simply observing their buying habits. And some entrepreneurs may simply be so in touch with the tastes and preferences of their target market that they already instinctively know what works and what won’t. These are not scientific research methods, but, used properly, they may still yield useful data.
Here are examples of issues that may be answered by simple observations and interviews:
- How often do you normally purchase and use the product?
- What triggers the purchase of the product?
- What can be done to improve the product?
- What kind of person normally buys the product?
- How is the product used?
- What are the product’s closest competitors or substitutes?
The risk in using non-scientific methods for gathering information about the market, however, is that the customers who are being interviewed or observed may not turn out to be representative of the company’s target market as a whole, and this may lead to wrong conclusions. And entrepreneurs who think that they know their market’s tastes and preferences may make mistakes every now and then as well. Because of this, it helps to have a strong feedback process anytime you set out to change or try to improve your product based on your findings. This way, should you turn out to have gotten inaccurate data, you can quickly correct any changes that may be implemented.
Remember that the more you know about your customers, the better you become in serving them. Good market knowledge enables you to make appropriate business decisions.