Market research objectives

Small business entrepreneurs often face a lot of questions such as who would become our customers, what product features are important, how much customers would be willing to pay for a new product or service. To address these questions you may decide to organise a whiteboard session to leverage expertise of your cross-functional team and brainstorm business activities required to develop and grow new lines of business. The result of this session may be various mind maps and flowcharts. However, there would likely be a number of assumptions requiring validation. You may make predictions about your customer demographics, about product or about important product features that would be important for your customers. You would need to recognise all critical assumptions. The objective of the market research is to test those assumptions. Talking to potential customers is essential.

Don’t do everything yourself.

It is not surprising that market research can be very time consuming. Your company may need to engage with tens (if not hundreds) of potential customers, perform online surveys, conduct focus groups, demonstrate prototypes etc. Small businesses often do not have sufficient internal capacity to undertake such activities.

Once you identified key assumptions to be tested as part of your market research consider finding people who can help you talk to your target customers, perform interviews or use other market research methods. If you have a limited budget, you can find a student intern studying business or marketing who would work with you.

Market research goes first

Do your market research before undertaking activities related to research, product design and manufacturing. There are few reasons to prioritise market research over some other activities. First, your market research would determine if there is interest in the new product. Insights from your potential customers would drive other product development activities in your organisation and help define your project priorities. Second, market research is often much cheaper than research and manufacturing. Who would want to invest $100,000 to design a new product to then discover that the product is not viable?

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