CALM DOWN! Market Research

Small Business Success | Market Research

By: Santi Chacon
Business Coach

...Okay, I'll Give In

Hey, I just had an earth shattering revelation 'If you are going to be fixated and OCD about something obsess over your people'  Wow! you read it here first. After all say it with me, "Everything is marketing!" Your brand is on the line. Start a cult that revolves around your brand and began from the inside out; the best companies always do. If you're gonna be a perfectionist you might as well make sure you choose the right thing to be a perfectionist about otherwise you'll  look like an idiot. No point in being a perfectionist in something that has no value or consequence (hmmmm, now there's a thought).  Just don't lose sight of what is truly important.

Enough Of The Shenanigans!

So far we covered management and branding, now we are going to cover market research. If branding was a jigsaw puzzle market research data when interpretated would be the picture on the box. In other words you have no idea what your brand should look like to your key stakeholders unless you took a hard look at the box (market research data). Many executives attempt to guess in this area, some become lucky and have successful careers but some guess and find themselves in bankruptcy, the choice is yours.

The Market Research

Ultimately, as a business owner you should have located some type of industry news source with market data i.e. journals, blogs, research articles, etc. If you read regularly on your industry this market research stuff won't seem so overwhelming. Ongoing industry research will provide a landscape to measure customer data against and as a consequence provide a holistic depiction of your companies advantages and disadvantages.

Macro-Market Research

The first area of market research is going to be embedded in your business plan. This is nothing more then a business prediction based on your interpretation of data measured against your ideals. These are predictions on how economic forces and conditions will affect your offering and vise versa. After examining your ideals and your environment you'll gather experienced professionals to assist (if possible) and you'll start to develop your offering, beginning your long journey toward profitability.

Micro-Market Research

The second type of market research is based on your real-time response from key stake holders i.e. front-line employees and customers.

In the beginning, as you make your first five thousand cold calls you have painful conversations with prospects and forge through your eureka moments bloodied and battered. You began to understand your offering through the eyes of the market as you receive push back on your value propositions from talkative prospects who explain to you why they need or don't need your product. With the lapse of time and relentless effort your marketing message becomes more relevant; you began to fine tune your offering, your value propositions, and brand. Finally, after years of experience and countless incremental adjustments to your offering and marketing message your sales efforts have transitioned to a sales force. 

At the end of the day you retire to your quiet office. You take off your suit jacket and drape it over a seat, you sit back in your overstuffed leather love seat, lean back, and put up your feet on your ottoman. Exhausted you take out your long awaited cigar and clip from a near by humidor and began to reflect on your time on the front-lines.

As a start up executive you had experienced customer acquisition and customer turn over. You had experienced customer loyalty, prospects who were on the fence, while others who became customers soon after continued  shopping around in hopes of finding more value or a lower price elsewhere. And even then it was hard to understand the motives of your customers.

How do these ongoing complexities affect your brand?

Now, you have about a dozen sales professionals, a few resellers, account managers, and a solidified marketing strategy that brings thousands of visitors to your website and blog weekly. As a sales person you could barely manage your own sales pipeline and now you are suppose to make assumptions regarding brand experience.

Just as we talked about in our last conversation you should want congruent and consistent branding. You can't have this if you fail to understand how individuals experience your brand.  You also don't know what attracts or discourages prospects or customers from converting into raving fans. Oh, sure you may have some notions or have picked up on a few things  but unless you have clear cut market data you have only observed the shadows of your business potential.

Market research data should be collected and labored over to understand the implications on your business.

So, roll up your sleeves and get to work and start developing your questionnaires. After all a marriage is so much better when you are intentional.  Roll out a marketing plan that puts a questionnaire in a customer's hot little hands every six months and provide incentives for filling out your 'short' questionnaires. Most importantly, when you receive your data began to make appropriate changes and enhancements.

...and to all a good night!

The OCD ADHD CEO and Small Business Success 
  1. Management
  2. Branding
  3. Market Research
  4. Business Finance
  5. Lead Generation 
  6. Lead Conversion
  7. Client Fulfillment

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