Market research: identify your market

Are you starting a business, adding a product, or expanding with an extra location? Market research and market analysis will show whether your plans are feasible. It is the foundation for your marketing plan. Complete market research in 7 steps.

With market research, you identify the market position of your company. It offers a lot of information that, together with your market analysis, can lead to concrete plans. For example, it shows you how to distinguish yourself from the competition, who potential customers are, and how you bring these customers into your company.

What is market research?

Market research shows whether your plans are feasible. It is the basis for your marketing plan. Market research consists of multiple studies and analyses that are related to each other. The result shows you how you can conquer the market with your company.

Do it yourself or outsource it?

You can get started with your market research yourself by doing desk research. Or by presenting your idea to potential customers and suppliers through field research in a qualitative or quantitative study. With desk research, you use existing information. For example, information that you find online. With qualitative research, you thoroughly question a limited number of people. They then respond with substantive and detailed answers. In a quantitative survey, the group of respondents is larger. You collect data, usually in the form of figures. You can then arrange this data and relate it to each other. You can approach respondents for example by telephone or via an online survey.

You can also outsource your market research to students or a market research company. For example, hire a student (in Dutch) 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. The costs of a research agency are higher than hiring a student but an agency often has the experience and sometimes also specialises in certain markets and research methods.

How do you perform 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 (in Dutch). 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.

Green target group? You can do this.

More and more target groups find it important that a company operates sustainably. Is a green image important to your customers or staff? Read what sustainability (in Dutch) means for your company.

Tips for market research

  1. Do you work with questionnaires for some of the research? Think about what you want to know in advance and adjust your questions accordingly. What is the (marketing) problem you want to solve? What opportunity do you want to explore?
  2. An (online) survey is a popular form of market research. Carefully consider whether this is the right research method for you. Qualitative research is often more valuable. For example, during an interview, you can more easily ask follow-up questions.
  3. In an interview, it is difficult to remain objective. You quickly ask questions through your own bias. Be aware of this. An alternative is to have someone else do the interview who is not or less involved in your plan.
  4. Do not ask too many questions. Arrange questions into a logical whole.
  5. The KVK Location scan (in Dutch) helps you determine the location of your company. Take the scan and find out where customers and competitors are.
  6.  Use the KVK Company Counter and quickly find out how many companies there are in your industry or a specific area.

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