The most important single question in market research and sales planning is the question “who is my customer”?
Failure to answer this question is the number one reason why businesses fail.
Because the people at the top are not clear about their customers, they produce a product or service for customers who do not exist or not in sufficient quantity to make the business successful. So, let us go!
Market research: Who is your customer?
You should find out exactly who your customer is. Describe him or her in great detail.
- What is his or her age
- What sort of education does he or she have?
- How much is his or her income?
- What sort of work does he or she do?
- Has he or she any experience concerning your product or service?
- What are his or her interests, beliefs, values or attitudes?
Answers to above questions will enable you to write out a description of your ideal customer.
In other words, this can give you a picture of the perfect customer for the product or service you are thinking of offering.
Why does your customer buy?
Next, you should then ask yourself about motivation:
- Why does my customer consider to be in what I want to sell?
- What is the primary motivation that causes my customer to what I sell?
- what is the most important benefit that my customer enjoys from using my product or service
- And above all, what does my customer have to be convinced of to buy this product or service from me rather than from someone else
For a new product or service business to enter the market, it must be better by a factor of three.
- It must be faster,
- and easier to use.
It must be better i n some important way or contain additional features and benefits. It must be sold more professionally, delivered more efficiently, and serviced more rapidly. In what three ways is your product or service superior to what is already available?
Market research: How large is the market?
You need to find out if there is market for your product or service.
Furthermore, you will need to find out whether the market is concentrated.
Beyond that, can you reach your market with sufficient advertising, promotion and selling activities to sell enough and make profits?
Research before spending money
Before you invest your time, money and your life in business, you should investigate it carefully to make sure you that potential customers are as excited about your product or service.
The benefits of a careful market research will be more than the money and time you will earn or save.
Therefore, you will need to do your homework.
Invest your time and energy rather your money to prove that people will buy your product before you bring it to the market.
Be an expert
Begin by finding out every detail of the product or service.
You should treat it like a research product.
Read trade magazines, articles and stories on the business, industry and or organization. Search the internet for every bit of information you can find.
Moreover, seek out people in the same business and ask for their opinions of the product or service.
Furthermore, you should not be secretive.
People in the same business will give you very good feedback on the viability of your idea.
Ask your bank manager for his opinion or advice.
Bank managers see hundreds of business ideas every year. They are extremely knowledgeable about what is likely to work in the marketplace.
Ask your friends, family and acquaintances for information, input and ideas about your business idea.
Market research: Ask a customer
You should visit prospective customers if they would buy that product or service.
Ask them if they can sell the product or service to others.
Act as if you had been hired as a consultant to evaluate this potential business.
Develop a suspicious attitude and accept nothing in faith.
Then you should look at the business as though you were going to be in it for the next 20 years.
Many business people can take a year or two before they decide which business or services to bring to the market.
Every hour you spend in research and test marketing can save ten hours of hard work later on.
Market research: Be sure that a market exists
Before you invest, you should make sure that a market exists for your product or service.
If you invest your money in a product or provide a service only to discover that nobody is coming forward to buy you, it will be a sad news.
Test the market
You need to test the market before you go all out to invest heavily on the product or service.
Testing the market is quite simple.
First you need to make a prototype or create a sample of the product or service that you can show to a potential customers.
You then get accurate prices and delivery dates from your suppliers so you know exactly how much you will have to charge.
With this in mind, you should then go to a buyer and ask for his or her opinion about your product or service.
Ask the prospective customers whether they would buy the product or service and what price they would be willing to pay for it
If you are selling to companies, call on the individuals who make the final buying decisions and get his or her candid reaction to your offering.
Compare with other products
It is very important that you compare your product with other products in the market.
Beyond that, you must always answer the question “why would someone buy from you instead of from someone else?”
Another way to test market a new product or service is to take it to a trade show where sophisticated buyers and potential customers will tell you whether or not you have a winner.
Finally, ask your friends, your relatives and business associates if they would buy or use the product or service at the price you would have to charge.
Whether or not you believe it, market research is key to success in business.
By Samuel Ijenhi, B. Sc. Accounting
University of Benin, Benin City,
Founder: Ijenhi Business Solutions