Market Research Mistakes to Avoid

Market research is essential to gain an understanding of your customers and competitors. The key to successful market research is planning and strategy. It should be systematic, organized, and fair. To help navigate this aspect of business, here are some of the most common market research mistakes people make and how to avoid them.

1. Not Knowing What You’re Looking For

The key to successful market research depends on identifying the questions you need answered before looking for data. It’s easy to find data loosely related to your industry or business. However, starting your research without specific inquiries about your customers won’t be as helpful or insightful.

2. Poor Choice of Reference Materials

It’s essential to know your information is coming from a reputable source. Google has the answers to everything, but do you know what the statistics you’ve found are based on? Do you know if the original questioning was biased?

Research your materials, double-check the information they provide, and look at the dates the data was collected for relevancy. Remember to check your local library as well. Not only do they have great reference books available, but they also provide access to licensed online reference databases.

3. Researching the Wrong Group

Data is only useful when it’s relevant. The first thing to establish from your research is your target demographic. Then, you can use that data to research your business with those parameters in mind and understand customers’ wants and needs.

4. Relying on One Set of Data

Whether you’re checking the most recent Census of Canada or a survey you conducted personally, remember that one set of data isn’t enough to get an objective overview of your target market. Good market research uses primary and secondary data from multiple sources to reach an unbiased opinion.

5. Choosing a Subjective Focus Group

In terms of primary research, your survey group can’t be purely made up of your friends, family, and acquaintances. They’ll likely want to support you and your new business, so they won’t be an objective source. Instead, speak to your customers, potential customers, or peers in the industry.

6. Not Understanding Your Own Bias

Everyone has opinions and beliefs that influence the way they rationalize data. The trick is to recognize this. By understanding your bias, even if it’s simply that you want your business to work no matter what, you can be aware of it when analyzing the data you’ve gathered and find an alternate way to make sense of it.

Market research helps remove guesswork from business decisions. Make sure to download Small Business BC’s Market Research Checklist for more information.

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