Market Research can use a broad range of tools and techniques.
This covers the more mathematical processes such as the analysis of customer surveys. Most of us are familiar with being quizzed about a product or service. Somewhere hidden away, this data will be analysed and quite likely presented in graph form at some stage to management.
In many industries, market data can be bought from specialist companies. This allows you to calculate your market share shows market size trends.
Modelling using tools like Excel enable you to plot market and product trends, adding different scenarios and “what ifs.” Tools can be extended to indicate turnover and profitability forecasts.
This complements Quantitative Research. Whilst the numbers may ultimately give a go/no go decision, the more human factors needs covered here, point you in the direction you need to travel and/or tell you if you are on the right road.
Exhibitions although primarily sales focussed are also good for getting customer feedback. If competitors are present at the show, you also get an indication of how well you compete.
Focus Groups are a classic tool, getting a group of potential and existing clients together will provide valuable information on market needs, its direction, product needs and how well you are doing. There are risks, the process may expose your bad points and customers may be made aware of competitors advantages. To be effective, the group needs to represent all segments of the market, avoid the trap of just inviting friendly long term customers. Industry experts can be valuable members in a group, they have the benefit of helicopter vision.