One of the most important steps you can take before you start your business is doing market research. Skip this step, and you risk offering a product or service that is incorrectly priced, marketed to the wrong audience, or worse—that nobody really wants.

Marketing research can give a business a picture of what kinds of new products and services may bring a profit. For products and services already available, marketing research can tell companies whether they are meeting their customers’ needs and expectations. By researching the answers to specific questions, small-business owners can learn whether they need to change their package design or tweak their delivery methods–and even whether they should consider offering additional services.

How to do a Market Research

  1. Define your buyer persona.
  2. Identify a portion of that persona to engage.
  3. Engage your market research participants.
  4. Prepare your research questions.
  5. List your primary competitors.
  6. Summarize your findings.

There are two main types of market research that businesses conduct to collect the most actionable information on their products: primary research and secondary research.

Primary research is the pursuit of firsthand information on your market and its customers. You can use focus groups, online surveys, phone interviews, and more to gather fresh details on the challenges your buyers face and the brand awareness behind your company.

Primary research is useful when segmenting your market and establishing your buyer personas, and this research tends to fall into one of two buckets: Exploratory Research and Specific Research.

Secondary research is all the data and public records you have at your disposal to draw conclusions from. This includes trend reports, market statistics, industry content, and sales data you already have on your business.

Secondary research is particularly useful for analyzing your competitors. Here are three types of secondary research sources that make this process so beneficial are: Public Sources, Commercial Sources and Internal Sources.