Regardless as to which sector you work in or who your customers are, carrying out market research is a key business task you shouldn’t ignore. This is especially true if you’re planning on introducing a new product or service or you work in a fast-moving industry such as technology, where nothing stays the same for long. These ten top tips show you how to do market research efficiently and effectively.

Scope

One of the most common mistakes businesses make when carrying out market research is over-reaching, going beyond what they need to know because there’s so much data out there and they don’t want to miss something important. This can be avoided by setting clear guidelines as to what you want to achieve.

Responsibilities

Not everyone has the skills and experience to do research well. Choose a member of your team with strong analytical skills to lead on the project or recruit a specialist agency which knows how to do market research.

Planning

Before you start your project, put a detailed plan in place with clearly defined aims and objectives and realistic timeframes. Remember, you’ll need to produce a final report, so build time into your plan for this too.

Information gathering

Rather than reinventing the wheel, every project should start by looking at what information is already available. Every industry, especially those that are tech-based, produces reams of data, most of which is available for free and could be a valuable resource.

Sources

With so much data out there, it’s hard sometimes to work out what is based on fact and what is supposition. Take time to verify any information you use, ensuring that it comes from a trusted source or website.

Insider knowledge

Don’t just rely on hard data for your project, speak to people too. This might be people within your organisation, industry experts, or customers, each of which will be able to offer a different viewpoint. Run focus groups and interviews, adding qualitative data to your project.

Get the balance right

It’s important to use quantitative and qualitative data in your research project. Try and get a balance for both, otherwise, your report may come across as biased or lack impact.

Useful data

During your project, you’ll collect lots of data, more than you need, and it’ll be tempting to try and include it all in your final report. You could end up with an overly-long or overly-complicated report. Create an outline of key points you want to cover, meaning your finding will be clear, concise and make sense.

Action planning

Market research only works if it leads to concrete actions that can move your business forward. Create an action plan outlining next steps and who will be responsible for progressing them.

Reviews

Remember, while your project will have been aimed at finding out more about an idea or innovation, the data upon which it’s based can quickly become outdated. Regularly review your findings and adapt your plan to reflect any new information that comes along.