Marketing Research and Planning
Completing basic research – like market research – can save time, money and a lot of trouble. The most successful businesses will:
- Find people or businesses who will be willing to pay for your product or service (there have to be enough of them to make it worth your while) through in-depth customer validation techniques – research market potential using census data and demographic databases
- Deliver the service or manufacture the product – research production options using business databases
- Know who you compete with – research competitors using business databases
- Understand whether your product is unique or proprietary – research patent filings
The Small Business Administration has launched an online tool that allows small business owners to see how their company compares to the competition. Research your competitive edge by checking out the SizeUp tool. Visit the Tarrant County SBDC to access SizeUp and numerous other powerful online tools to help take your marketing game to the next level. Also, don’t forget to search through the Resource Navigator to find local organizations that are here to help you with your marketing challenges.
Customer validation is the very first place to start to determine if your product or service has a market. As an established company that already offers products or services, launching something new can present specific challenges.
- Before your company makes the investment to launch something new, it is critical that you validate the problem you are solving with your company’s product and determine how big of a pain point the problem represents. Surveys will help you discover if potential customers see the pain point as a major problem (meaning they’re willing to pay money for a solution) or a secondary problem (meaning they’re much less likely to pay for a solution). Watch the video on problem validation.
- The second step is to validate your company’s solution to the problem. This step will help you determine if your solution resonates with the target market. Watch this video to learn how to validate your solution.
When performing validation on the problem and solution, it is imperative to take an open-minded approach and listen to what potential customers are telling you. It is crucial that you not be focused on providing only your solution. The videos above will show you how to prepare surveys and questionnaires that collect the needed information without influencing or biasing potential customers.
During the course of validation, you’ll begin to understand what your target markets who – who is going to buy your product and why. To effectively market to these customers, the following articles will help you identify your target customer profile and how to successfully market to them.