Different types of businesses require different levels of market research. Technology has made it very easy to conduct market research. For small sized businesses, simple platforms such as social media would be enough to give insight on the business market. There are simple and affordable ways of market research. These market intelligence methods are convenient for businesses that are not so huge. They are very easy to carry out internally.
Observation research is another way of carrying out lean market research. The observer takes note of a customer engaging with your company’s product or a product from your competitor. The observational research may be covert or avoid observation.
Covert observation in market intelligence is where an observer is stationed somewhere to observe product users. The users are customers who are unknown to the observer. This type gives clear data as the observer sees the user directly. It is, however, tricky since the observer does not directly engage with the customer. The customers are observed without their knowledge.
Overt observation on the other hand has the customers giving consent for the observer to observe them. Like in covert market intelligence observation, the observer watches the customer engage with the product. The customer in overt observation is aware that they are being observed.
So as to ensure efficiency in observation market research, the observer should have a note book where he or she records clearly what they see. From the observation, the information gathered should answer the questions where, what, ‘for whom’ and why.
In observation market intelligence and research, it is not ethical to record the customers. Audio or video recording may make the customers nervous or unwilling to participate. This applied for both overt and covert models of observation research. When it comes to overt observation, customers participate better when the observer explains clearly the motive for the observation.
Carrying out interviews
This method entails conducting a one on one talk with customers within your target market. This is one of the most efficient ways of doing market research. It is efficient because in a one on one conversation, you are able to dig deeper for more information. Customers are also able to express themselves better, both verbally and non- verbally.
In the interview, the interviewer should assume the role of a journalist. This basically means carrying out the interview in a neutral way and not as a company sales person. Avoid marketing the company in the interview. Focus the interview on the customers; what they like, what frustrates them and how your company product could be of use to them. Also avoid much talk and allow the customers to do more of the talking. Remember that the goal of the interview is to give you clear information. For this reason, therefore, ask to get the causes of their responses as this will make things clearer for you. You could also record the conversation so as to capture everything as compared to writing. Record the interview with the customers’ knowledge and approval.
It is not advisable to ask loaded or leading questions during the interview. When you ask a leading question, it shows the kind of response that you expect to get. This makes you a marketer or bias interviewer. A loaded question on the other hand is based on assumptions about something. Moreover, these assumptions might be untrue.
These two methods of market intelligence and research are easy to use and affordable. They are a good way for start ups and medium sized businesses to acquire enough market intelligence. No matter the size of your business, it is not advisable to conduct business without market research.