“Market research is a systematic, objective collection and analysis of data about your target market, competition, and/or environment with the goal being increased understanding.”(OWBC) In order for a company to expand and grow, some type of market research is required. For a small business or new business venture, the need for market research is necessary to succeed. Market research has several phases and questions that must be answered. Sometimes the answers will lead a company to abandon an idea if the research does not support the product’s impact. Inadequate or no research could significantly hinder a company’s growth and bankrupt a fledgling organization.
How to Research
There are several ways to conduct research for a product or business. No matter what approach you take, the following issues need to be considered: demographics, environment, legal, technical, and social. (Kotler 238) If a marketing plan includes information based on this list, a company will have a good idea how a product will perform. Each aspect can be divided into other subsets to help individualize the correct information required for a particular service or product. Examples of good questions are: What is the age and gender we are trying to reach? Who are our competitors? What are the benefits of our product/service? What are the trends involved in this specific market? (L. and J. McGrane)
To gather the required information, you must put in the time. This is where the initial research begins. With the growth of the Internet, finding out answers to things such as environmental impact, demographic information for the area and competitors’ traffic is just a mouse click away. Many services will provide this information free or for a nominal charge. (ECD) Another way to gather information is by using individualized surveys. A specific survey can yield ideas a company may have overlooked, or even identify a consumer need that has not previously been met. (Kennedy) Once you have a target group, use the Internet to explore chat rooms, bulletin boards, and newsgroups to get an honest anonymous opinion of the idea with a focused survey. This yields invaluable information about the consumer to whom you are trying to sell your wares. (L. and J. McGrane)
Finally, you must research the financial aspect of this venture. Market trends, failure rates, salary and staffing, and startup capitol needed are just a few of the things a business owner must take into consideration. Many firms out there can help gather this information. A simple search on the Web will also produce valuable information. If the company can afford to outsource this work, the firm hired will also be able to filter and explain each component and how it affects the business.
Benefits of Market Research to RIMG
Regular photography is quickly merging with computers and the Internet. This allows for easier storage of prints and opens up a completely new avenue for consumer to have their pictures developed. According to a report by Datacomm Research Co., digital photography will overtake regular film within the next five years. Therefore, new technology must be in place to keep up with consumer demand. This is knowledge Retail Imaging needs in order to ensure their continued growth in the one-hour photo service world. RIMG has quickly adapted market research found on the Internet and through on site customer surveys. The account managers have been trained to keep up with this growing trend. We have positioned ourselves to be competitive and gain an edge. Using this research, we have maintained our current customer base while reaching new clients with our up-to-date digital services.
Information gathered from market research is vital to the growth of any business no matter what stage it is at currently. A company must weigh the cost of this analysis against the potential profit. Research also creates benchmarks to help you track the progress before you reach your next research interval. (OWBC) It is imperative that your business continues market research in order to maintain its competitive edge in the marketplace.