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How to Gain Competitive Advantage from Market Research

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The act of carrying out market research is one which thousands of businesses both big and small swear by. Gathering information and having in-depth knowledge about the relevant industries, customers and competition is crucial when making any sorts of changes to a business plan, from new products to a new location, or from expansion to re-branding with high-quality exhibition stands. Market research has a huge number of advantages; better understanding of who clients are and what they want, identification of new opportunities, minimising risk and creating benchmarks by which to measure progress in future. Follow these handy tips from Discount Displays on how to properly conduct market research and use it to a company’s advantage:

Primary Data – Surveys, Interviews, Focus Groups

The information collected using these methods comes directly from the clients and customers, and can therefore be interpreted as the most useful type of feedback. Each method also has its distinct advantages. Handing out surveys or questionnaires to current or previous clients can be both time and cost-efficient, and can amass feedback from broad samples. The results can then be counted and compiled into useful statistics that can not only be used for future reference, but for endorsements or testimonials.  Interviews are another form of sourcing primary data, and though they may cost more and take longer, they allow for real interaction with clients. They provide an in-depth insight into customer’s opinions and take the feedback of individuals into account.  Focus groups are the final form of primary data collection and are usually carried out in small groups. The human interaction element of this method helps clients to feel more at ease in expressing their opinions and those hosting the focus group can gather larger amounts of data in a limited period when compared to single interviews.

Industry Research

It is vital to understand the workings of the industry the business is positioned in. Having in-depth knowledge about an industry helps business owners to establish information such as sales trends, demand for certain products and the standards that those in the industry must meet. Conforming to expectations within an industry is vital for new businesses just starting out, and will be one of the most vital forms of market research that they can undertake as they start out. Similarly, those branching out into other markets or providing new services should undertake thorough research on the entire industry to minimise the risk.

Competitor Research

Every business has a range of competitors; in such a saturated market, it is almost impossible to provide an entirely unique service or product. Having an understanding of the services and products provided by competitors is key to establishing a USP (unique selling point); a must for all organisations. Elements of competitors’ businesses which can be easily researched include pricing, marketing, brand presence, their location, the layout of their retail unit and how much of their business is conducted online compared to in person. Knowing these details about competitors can help to fill gaps within a market as they seek to offer something that their competitor doesn’t.