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Market  Research -
Your Guide to Intelligent Decision Making

Business decisions can only be made intelligently with a solid base of knowledge.  Thorough market research completed before launching your business can save you time, money and trouble.  By knowing what your competitors are doing or not doing, and what your target audience wants, you will be able to develop an effective Unique Selling Proposition and an effective marketing strategy.  These are essential elements of success.

Find Out What Your Competitors Are Doing

Find Out What Your Target Customers Want

If you are already in the business you wish to expand, the best place to start is talking to your current customers.  Find out what they like best about your product.  Find out what they like least.  Discuss what they would want to see with your product or service.  What did they like best about competitor's products or services?  What did they like least?  You can do this through informal discussions or formal surveys.

Find out what people are talking about the most in your subject area. Which element is the most popular? What is it that everyone is looking for? Find out what they would find of value. Start asking some questions.

Keep your ears and eyes open. Every time someone says "There must be an easier way to ..." or "I wish there was a way to ..." that's a new product or service waiting to be created or improved.

Find Out What Your Competitors Are Doing

Check out your competitors' Web sites.  Think of all the probable keywords and phrases related to your products or services that people would be likely to use to search within the search engines.

Create a list of your competitors' web sites which are marketing the same type or similar product that you wish to market.  Then begin to methodically visit them. Keep track of each site that appears relevant. Find the ones that appear to be most successful. 

Subscribe to the free electronic newsletters offered at the sites, if any. If there are excellent newsletters that can be obtained only by paid subscription, pony up the cash. You need to know what is being done and being said to avoid the risk of an inaccurate market assessment.

What are the other sites doing?  Studying your most successful competitors will give you insights on how they have been marketing their specific product. They may be a great resource for you and avoid many costly mistakes. Their sitescould show you many things to enhance your products and your marketing approach. They may offer something you wish to incorporate into marketing plan to better promote and market your own products or services.

Find out what others think about your competitors.

What do the customers need that they cannot easily get now?  What must you do to be unique and be better than your competitors?  Compile an exhaustive list of ideas on how you could better satisfy the customer in your target market.

In summary, you will come at this from two directions:

  1. Be a solution finder for your customers.  Offer what they want.  Don't offer something, and hope someone wants it. 

  2. Figure out how your successful competitors are doing it, then improve upon it in some unique way that is of benefit to your customers.