The most successful businesses all have at least one thing in common: they know their customers like the back of their hand. This is an essential pillar for building a sound, long-lasting foundation for your business to grow on. Just look at how people from all around the world line up hours in advance to buy the latest iPhone. Apple does not just know how to give its customers what they want, but also how to market their brand experience in a way that makes the product indispensable. This does not just happen by chance. To connect with customers on this level, you need the guidance of a professional market research consultant. Here’s how working with a market research consultant can help you grow your business.

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Get to know your audience better

Many business owners and entrepreneurs are irrationally confident when it comes to knowing their audiences. Just because you identified one of their needs, doesn’t mean you know everything about their wants, desires, and dreams. Not even the best products can overcome this disconnect. In some cases, not having a proper understanding of your target audience can pull the rug out from a company’s feet. This Entrepreneur article, “4 Phases of Market Research to Ensure Success” explains how one of the early Dot-Com companies failed because it was unaware that most of its audience did not yet have computers and Internet access:

“Back in 1998, boo.com set out to become the world’s first online global sports retailer. It had a massive $60 billion target market, $130 million in funding and the first-mover advantage. However, only one in 250 people placed an order — a conversion rate of just 0.25 percent. The company hadn’t done the research to determine whether consumers had the technology necessary to use the site.”

The company’s failure had nothing to do with its idea, service, or user interface. They just based their entire business model on a key assumption that turned out to not be true. What makes this so destructive is that just a sprinkle of market research could have saved the company. A basic survey could have informed them to keep planning and wait a couple of years for their audience to get the necessary technology.

Forecast sales

In addition to learning more about your customers, market research can also give you insight into future sales. Having an idea of your upcoming sales volume helps your prepare for busy and slow seasons. Revenue forecasts are decently reliable because sales are cyclical and seasonal in nature. By identifying these trends, you can set targets for upcoming quarters. Market research can take this a step further by identifying trends and new buying habits. The more accurate your forecasts are, the better you shall be able to serve customers.

Create more targeted ads

There’s nothing worse than investing your money in an advertising campaign that was doomed from the start. If you do not know what resonates with customers, then you have no business creating ads for them. This is often the case when it comes to international ad campaigns. There have been a few awkward, yet hilarious blunders over the years due to a poor understanding of the audience. Pepsi, for example, learned this the hard way when its “Come Alive With Pepsi” slogan was translated as “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Dead.”

However, there are plenty of domestic campaigns that fail for similar reasons. In many of these cases, market research would have cleared up the misconception. In general, the more market research you have access to, the more you will have to work with when it comes to creating ads.

Measure your credibility

For long-term success in the business world, there’s nothing more important than brand credibility. Without it, it will be nearly impossible to attract new customers or foster any loyalty. The good news is that it is relatively easy to establish a respectable level of credibility via content marketing. There are plenty of cost-effective ways to do that on the Internet. The bad news is that consumers are setting a higher bar than ever when it comes to social responsibility. Nowadays, merely avoiding mishaps might not be enough. Many consumers want to see activism on social media.

However, how should you know where you stand, how you can improve, and what consumers expect from your business? Without getting this information straight from the source via primary research, you risk hurting your company’s credibility.

Long-term strategic thinking

Chess and checkers are two of the most popular board games, and while they might look similar, they require completely different strategies. In a chess match, you have to consider multiple possibilities not just for the current move, but also for 2-5 moves down the line as well. You would be surprised at how many businesses are playing checkers in a chess match. You need to have one eye on the short-run and the other on the long-run. Maximizing profits in the short-run is no good if it means compromising your company’s future. Forward-thinking businesses refer to market research to learn about new trends, attitudes, and needs before they materialize. Sometimes you need to let your competitors take the lead so you can pass them later on.

More informed decision making

People tend to put too much stock into intuition. Your gut feeling is often correct, but that does not mean you should not verify it when you have that option. Too many businesses make decisions without weighing the pros, cons, and possible consequences. To reduce your risk, you need research, quantitative metrics, and consultation with experienced professionals.

Identify the next innovation

Some audiences are begging businesses to make a specific product. Most of the time, their voices are never heard or just flat out ignored. According to this Harvard Business Review article, reading market research can help you identify the next innovation in your industry:

“Smart companies realize that intelligence about their customers can actually lead to a lot more than greater marketing effectiveness. It a powerful tool for identifying innovations, especially with the opportunities for data gathering afforded by smart technologies and social media.”

By listening to your audience, you can crowdsource the very early stages of product development. Once they start sharing their ideas, they are out there for the rest of your industry to hear. Either you or one of your competitors will be the first to listen.

Increase your market share

It is rarely the case that a market is big enough to support all participating businesses. Market share is a finite thing, and you want to maximize yours before it is too late. This all depends on product development, advertising and marketing, customer service, and several other variables. Pretty much any factor that determines your market share can be informed by market research. Knowledge is a powerful asset.

Keep a tab on competitors

Lastly, sometimes market research is necessary just to keep an eye on your competitors. You might find, for example, that a business in your industry is having success with a particular market segment on social media. Market research lets you know what your competitors are doing and how they are performing. It can make the difference between you jumping on a hot trend and you jumping head-first down a fruitless rabbit hole. Working with a market research consult increases your company’s potential and reduces its risk at the same time. To get in touch with a market research consultant in New York, contact marketing research today.