Market research: identify your market

Are you adding a new product, or expanding with an extra location? Check if your plans are feasible with market research. It is the foundation for your marketing plan. In this article, you will learn about what types of market research there are, if there are laws and regulations you have to comply with, and what it costs if you do not do the research yourself.

What is market research?

With market research you map out how you stand out from your competitors, who your potential customers are and how you attract these customers to your company. This is also known as determining your market position. Market research offers a lot of information that you can use to make concrete plans. Use this information to strengthen your business model. For instance, improve your business strategy, add a new sales location or expand your product range.

Examples of market research

Market research consists of multiple studies and analyses that are interrelated. The total shows how you can conquer the market with your company.

  1. Begin with a SWOT analysis, also known as a strengths-weaknesses analysis. This shows at a glance where opportunities lie for your company and what requires extra attention.
  2. Identify the developments within the sector in which you operate by using an industry analysis. This will give you insight into the feasibility of your idea.
  3. Gather information about your main competitors so you can distinguish yourself. Perform a competitor analysis.
  4. Analyse your potential customers through a customer survey. This provides insight into who your customers are and what their buying behaviour is. With this data, you determine how, where and when you approach your customers.
  5. Identify opportunities and threats around your company through an environmental analysis. Then you know how ideal the conditions are for your company.
  6. Research the experiences and wishes of your existing customers based on a customer satisfaction survey. This way you know whether you can optimize your product or service. After all, happy customers generate new customers.
  7. Research how your potential target group sees your company and check if this corresponds to the desired image of your company.

GDPR and market research

Do you work with personal data? For example, as part of a customer or image survey? If so, you must comply with the privacy legislation GDPR. Market research falls under 'statistical purposes'. This means you may collect and process personal data for your research without permission, as long as the data is anonymous and cannot be traced back to a person.

The cost of market research

Those who want to do market research themselves can do it for free. But you can also pay for it and have someone else do it for you.

Do market research yourself

If you ask your customers or people in your network questions about your product or your opening hours yourself, you are already doing market research. This only takes a bit of time and effort. Another inexpensive option is to conduct an (online) survey. There are plenty of free survey tools. If you want a paid tool with more options, expect to pay about 30 euros per month for a subscription.

Paying someone to do market research

When you outsource market research, you can choose between a cheap or an expensive option.

  • You can also outsource your market research to students or a market research company. For example, hire a student from a university of applied sciences for an internship or graduation assignment lasting several weeks or months. He will do this job for you and will acquire new knowledge and refreshing ideas for you. This takes time because you have to supervise a student.
  • Do you want your research done by someone who specialises in certain markets or research methods, or by someone with a lot of experience? Then hire a research agency. There are higher costs involved here. For example, if you want to survey 1,000 customers and have a survey prepared, conducted and analysed through an external agency, expect to pay around 3,000 euros for the entire survey. The exact costs depend on the scope of the survey, such as the number of people you want to survey, or the lead time and deadline of the survey. It also matters whether you commission an online survey or telephone research. In-depth interviews are the most expensive. Ask for a detailed quote in advance so that there are no surprises.