It helps to do research about your target market when you're involved in business, whether it's small or huge, because it helps you get a better understanding of the wants and needs of your potential and current customers, your industry rivals, and even the whole industry where you are operating.
When you conduct market research, you collect and collate data from a group of people and you analyse your data very carefully to discover trends, patterns or emerging concepts. The data can be obtained through different means. Choosing the appropriate method and interpreting the data correctly will lead you to making smarter and better decisions for your business.
The Need to Use Market Research
Practically all enterprises make use of market research as a tool to increase their company profits. Some might think that conducting this would cost them a lot of money, but in the long run, the return on investment (ROI) in market research usually goes beyond the price of doing the research itself.
In addition, the process will help you identify new opportunities in the market and the customers' particular needs, adjust marketing campaigns, correct existing problems and evaluate your company's success with concrete data.
Focus Groups: A Method Used in Market Research
One of the most common and most effective ways to obtain important data about the market is by using focus groups. A focus group is a type of qualitative study that gathers a small number of people to discuss specific topics like feedback on a new service or product, opinions about the competitors or recommendations on the company itself.
A focus group is usually composed of seven to ten individuals that possess similar characteristics and experiences in connection to a particular topic. A skilled facilitator or moderator helps the focus group to arrive at a conclusion through the process of discussion. The sessions are documented to record the salient points raised by the participants.
The Cost of Focus Groups
This market research method involves some money, especially when you hire the services of outsourcing companies that conduct focus group discussions.
The best option is to have a market research professional conduct the focus group discussions on your behalf. They are highly trained to ask the right questions and direct the flow of discussions towards finding the answers that will be relevant to your business.
It's highly recommended to hold at least two sessions, which will obviously increase the price. However, there are also some ways in which you can save some funds. You can definitely create your own questions, facilitate the discussion yourself, and use your own office space to facilitate the group discussion. Before you go down this route, however, make sure that you have the knowledge and skills to initiate and conduct focus groups yourself; otherwise, you could end up just wasting your money, effort and time.
Recruiting qualified participants can also take a long time especially if you have a set of criteria that they should meet. Compensation must also be taken into consideration when holding focus group discussions. You will need to give participants rewards or cash for their participation. The cost of compensation may fall anywhere between £20 and £100 each, depending on the classification of the participants—consumers, students, professionals, or executives.
If you want to take the pulse of real people who purchase your products or avail of your services, the focus group is your best tool to get every piece of information that you will need to improve your business operations and income.
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