Why Market Research is important to your business.

Jumping into that marketing campaign, product launch or website redesign is something companies do all too easily. Start-ups and small businesses particularly, often think that it is enough that their team members believe in the strategy or idea – or even that their nearest and dearest agree. However, in order to take a concept or idea to the next stage, it is essential to prove, using reliable information, that the idea is wanted, needed, or well received by your customers.

What’s most important here is that your customers believe in what you are offering. Not what you are offering. Let me make that clear… people don’t buy what you do, they by why you do it.

So why aren’t you talking to your customers to find out what they believe? What they trust? What they love? Until you know this, you’ve missed the point.

The human brain can help explain why this is so important. When you look at a human brain from the top or sides, almost everything you see is the Neocortex – The rational part of the brain, responsible for analytical thought and language. Then, there’s the Limbic System. A complex set of brain structures located on top of the brainstem and buried under the cortex. This area is responsible for feelings (e.g. trust), and decision making. This area has no capacity for language.

This means, that communicating to your customers in a way that explains what your product or service does, targeting their analytical neocortex, cannot drive decision making. They will not make a purchase. However, communicating to your customers why your product or service does what it does, in a way that targets their feelings, can and will help them make a decision.

It is for this reason that it is imperative that you talk to your customers and find out:

> What they believe
> Who they trust
> Who they love
> What they are seeking
> Who their friends are
> What they talk about

Once you know the answer to the above, you can start developing your value proposition, develop your product, create your marketing messages, and go to market.

An overview of how else customers can help your business:

> Help you to identify problem areas

> Explain why they choose you over your competitors

> Explain why they choose your competitors over you

> Help you to recognise new areas for expansion

> Explain their needs and wants

> And ultimately, help you make well-informed decisions.

A case-study I particularly love:

Starbucks determined what customers wanted, and why they wanted it…and revolutionised an industry.

While Starbucks is known for its quality coffee, what’s unique is its atmosphere – where business professionals, students, writers and anyone who wants a few hours of free wifi and a comfortable workspace, can go. This environment didn’t exist in the industry, and resulted in Starbucks gaining a large and loyal following, and ultimately, a shop on every street corner. They found the ‘why’ to their business, and made it happen.