Let’s be honest, research is associated with a lot of tedious work, but don’t let research intimidate you! Long gone are the gruelling days of sifting through text in a stuffy library. With the internet at our fingertips, it would be a crying shame not to use it for our benefit.
Research provides answers. The more answers you have, the more understanding and knowledge you will gain. When it comes to your business, these answers will, for example, be the difference between meeting or surpassing your customer’s needs or completely missing the mark.
If you are looking for insights into your consumer, you should be looking to uncover some of the following:
- Who your customers are.
- Think motivations, needs, desires, and pain points.
- Opportunities for niche marketing.
A simple Google search is a solid launching pad because the source list on many articles will generate new leads. However, you should never stop at Google. For the most up-to-date industry-specific research, consider accessing research via IBISWorld or consulting firms like PwC or Deloitte. It’s important to note that some papers will be free, while some will come at a cost or subscription.
Of course, Google does offer Google Trends, which allows you to get a closer look into the minds of consumers and audiences by showing you what topics and stories are popular. The most searched terms generate this information.
Another great function is Google Scholar, which is free, accessible, and has an array of full text or metadata across various disciplines.
If you are looking for information regarding your local landscape (and you should), don’t discount the following:
- Census Reports/Stats
Operating on hunches works for some businesses, but asking the right questions allows the serious business owner to go forward and act on actual data and feedback.
Some survey tools include:
Hire a Firm
Ok, while we are here, let’s address a simple fact: conducting, reading, and analyzing research isn’t for everyone. That’s ok. Not wanting to or having the time doesn’t mean you aren’t serious about your business.
Another option you have is to partner with a local marketing firm that prioritizes the investment in research and uses it to develop a strategy specific to your business. Marketing firms are more than happy to do the ‘dirty work’ for you. In fact, they make it a point to invest and have access to the latest research.
Let’s get searching!