Market research is often seen as a long and difficult stage in the business creation process. Some project leaders even consider it optional or even unnecessary.
However, even if it is a time-consuming step, market research is at the heart of any business creation project’s success.
This article will try to reconcile you with this great entrepreneurial tool that is market research.
What Is Market Research?
Market research is an analysis of the context and the ecosystem within which the company will operate.
The market research will answer various questions, such as:
- Is there a market for my product/service?
- What is the size of this market (in value and volume)?
- Who are my clients/payers/prescribers / potential users in this market?
- What is their buying behavior?
- What are the market trends?
- What is the price range of competing products/services?
- Who are my competitors? Where are they? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
- Who are my potential suppliers?
- Who are my potential distributors?
In the end, the market study will allow you to understand your target better and therefore to propose a suitable offer.
To achieve a relevant market study, you will need to show perseverance, precision, and rigor. Information is not always easy to obtain. But remember, she’s worth gold!
Here is how to do Market Research in 6 concrete and effective steps
Carrying out market research requires a certain technical know-how. Here is a simple methodology.
1. Define the scope of the study
Before starting the market study, you will need to set the limits and the objectives to be achieved.
First of all, define:
- A budget,
- A deadline,
- As well as the elements and information to be collected.
Set yourself clear objectives and consider the time spent on market research as a real investment: the goal is not to slow down your project but rather to speed it up by working as close as possible to your future customers, and that from the design phase.
2. Identify the sources of information
There are many sources of information, for example:
- A sample of potential customers (requires you to have an idea of your target already),
- The press, magazines, or major media,
- Institutional sites,
- Market studies already available,
- INSEE demographic data,
- Professionals in the sector,
- or the observation of consumer behavior in the field.
Whether from the field or collected from a database, ensure that the information is reliable and relevant.
3. Design your Market Research tools
We will discuss here two essential tools: the questionnaire and the PESTLE method.
The market research questionnaire.
The questionnaire is the most widely used tool for market research. Unfortunately, it is very often overlooked in its design.
Some simple tips for an effective questionnaire:
- Define the number and characteristics of the sample of people to be interviewed: you will have to solicit people from your target market!
- Design relevant, unbiased, and quantifiable questions,
- Test your questionnaire before deploying it,
- Allow respondents to provide you with their data: the goal is also to collect the contact details of your first customers!
On this site, you will find many examples of market research questionnaires.
Note: Google offers you a free and simple tool to establish your online questionnaire: Google Forms. You can share your questionnaire online, by email, or print it. The responses are automatically summarized in the form of a graph in the “Results” tab of the application. You will also have the possibility of generating a data table (spreadsheet format) to add the answers collected during the “face-to-face” meetings.
The PESTEL method
This tool consists of analyzing the impact of the environment on your future business based on the following factors:
To train you on this tool, we invite you to consult our article: PESTEL analysis: definition, concrete example, and Word table.
4. Collect the information
Information can be collected in documentary form, observation, remote questionnaire, or face-to-face interview.
The face-to-face to prove the most instructive; you have the possibility of reframing the exchange and deepening the subject. They also make it easier to identify your first customers and enter directly into the commercial relationship.
Take the time to cross-check the data collected, ask for details, and to adapt, if necessary, your methods of gathering information.
Aim for quality for effective market research.
5. Analyze the information collected
This involves sorting the information, cross-referencing the data, and then analyzing them. It may happen that certain information collected turns out to be imprecise or irrelevant: do not use it.
First, present your analyzes in the form of graphs and simple tables.
Write a market research summary document.
The final market study document must include the following elements:
- Presentation of the results,
- Opportunities and risks linked to the market and its context,
- Sectoral constraints,
- Conditions for the success of the project,
- Strategic, marketing, and commercial choices.
Highlight your key figures for a powerful reading of your market research.
6. Make a forecast estimate of your turnover
The goal of market research is to introduce marketing positioning, strategic direction, and a business model.
Based on the results of your market research, try to anticipate the revenue you might achieve.