Market Research is a very crucial step for all the women who intend to do business and it is very important to understand the importance of market research and analysis. Market research can be conducted by two ways; internally (by the company itself) and externally (by research firms).
Guide to Conduct Market Research:
What is Market Research:
“The process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting information about a market, about a product or service to be offered for sale in that markt and about the past, present and potential customers for the product or service; research into the characteristics, spending habits, location and needs of your business’s target market, the industry as a whole, and the particular competitors you face.”
Successful businesses have extensive knowledge of their customers and their competitors. Market research is the process of gathering information which will make you more aware of how the people you hope to sell to will react to your current or potential products and services.
Whether you are aware of it or not, as a business owner you conduct market research all the time. When you talk to customers about your business or check out the prices of your competitors you are conducting market research. Formalizing the process can produce a wealth of information about your products and services, your customers and the marketplace you operate in.
Why to conduct Market Research:
The goal of doing market research is to equip yourself with the information you need to make informed business decisions about start-up, innovation, growth and the 4 P’s
- Product — Improve your product or service based on findings about what your customers really want and need. Focus on things like function, appearance and customer service or warranties.
- Price — Set a price based on popular profit margins, competitors’ prices, financing options or the price a customer is willing to pay.
- Placement — Decide where to set up and how to distribute a product. Compare the characteristics of different locations and the value of points of sale (retail, wholesale, online).
- Promotion — Figure out how to best reach particular market segments (teens, families, students, professionals, etc.) in areas of advertising and publicity, social media, and branding.
Part of being prepared with market research is avoiding unpleasant surprises. Intuition and experience can be helpful at times, but research and facts often paint a more accurate picture of your market.
By conducting research on a regular basis, you can keep up with the dynamics of the economy and demography. You can also adjust to new regulations and technological breakthroughs.
Market research can help you:
- Understand your customers and their preferences (4 P’s)
- Profile your customers (location, age, gender, income level, etc.)
- Create more effective marketing campaigns
- Find the best business location
- Identify opportunities to grow and increase profits
- Recognize changes in demand
- Offer new products or services for the new demand
- Find new markets within and outside of Canada
- Recognize and plan for industry and economic shifts
- Shift inventory, price and staff levels as needed
- Monitor the competition in your market
- Identify competitors
- Get information on how your competitors operate
- Learn how customers compare you with your competitors
- Mitigate risk in your business decisions
- Use information, not just intuition, to drive your business decisions
When to conduct Market Research:
- Market research is critical for new start-ups and should be a key element of any entrepreneur’s business plan
- Determining the sales potential of your products and services
- Identifying the demographic characteristics of your customers
- Selecting the appropriate business location
- Setting the price for your products and services
- Attracting customers to your business
- Establishing your company image
- Setting prices for your products and services
- Ensuring advertising is on target
- For selling to customers and earning repeat business by its day to day operation
- For businesses contemplating significant changes, such as business expansion and relocation
The kind of information gathered through marketing research during the planning and growth stages of your business can also be very useful in its day-to-day operation. A regular flow of market research information can help you to maximize the potential of your current business activities and help you to create a roadmap for future growth.
How to conduct Market Research:
Once you have established your goals, it is important develop a strategy and select techniques you will use to gather data. The two broad types of research you can use are primary and secondary research.
Primary research is original information gathered through your own efforts (or on your behalf by a hired research firm) to respond to a specific question or set of questions. This information is normally gathered through surveys, observation, or experimentation.
The following questions that can be addressed through primary research:
- Who are my customers and how can I reach them?
- Customer profiles
- Prospective business locations
- Marketing strategies
- Which products and services do buyers need or want?
- What factors influence the buying decisions of my customers?
- Price, service, convenience, branding, etc.
- What prices should I set for my products and services?
- Customer expectations
- Who are my competitors, how do they operate and what are their strengths and weaknesses?
There are different competitor analysis tools and models that are used to identify/research your competitors including, Porter’s five forces analysis, SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threat) analysis, PEST (Political, Economic, Social and Technological factors) etc
Secondary research exploits existing resources like company records, surveys, research studies and books and applies the information to answer the question at hand.
Existing company records such sales invoices, receipts and formal complaints are important secondary resources that businesses can utilize. Often times these records shed light on the same issues businesses seek to address through primary research, and therefore an examination of company records should be done before considering a customer survey or other form of primary research.
The following are the questions that can be addressed through secondary research:
- What are the current economic conditions that my business is operating in? Are these conditions changing?
- International, national, provincial and local economic conditions
- What trends are influencing the industry my business operates in?
- Consumer preferences
- Technological shifts
- Prices for goods and services
- Are there international markets for my products or services that could help me to grow my business?
- What are the demographic characteristics of my customers or where do they live?
- Populations, age groups, income levels, etc.
- What is the state of the labour market?
- How many people have the skills I require?
- How much should I expect to pay my employees?
Resources (Business Centers) that Assist in Market Research:
Canada Business Network Service Centers:
Canada Business Network (CBN) is a collaborative arrangement among Canadian federal government departments and agencies, provincial and territorial governments, and not-for-profit entities. It’s aim is to provide small and medium Canadian businesses and enterprising organizations with the resources they need to grow and prosper in a global economy, free of charge
Canada Business Network Service Centres are found in each province and offer research materials that you can access free of charge, as well as expertise to help you with your research. These centres across offer guidance, information and resources to help make your journey in business a success. Some centres feature libraries that are stocked with materials to help small businesses.
Canada Business can provide answers to your business questions. They strive to answer questions within one business day.
|Contact the Canada Business Network:|
|Toll free number: 1-888-576-4444
TTY: 1-800-457-8466 (for the deaf or hard of hearing) (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time)
|Province||Resources/ Business Centres||About||Contact Information|
|Ontario||Secondary Market Research-Canada Business Ontario||For a business research service that is free of charge to help you start or grow your business, including:
● Contact information for industry associations and suppliers
● Information about business trends and local competitors
● Demographic data about potential customers in a specific geographic location
It is your source for information on government services for business in Ontario – from start-up and financing, to growth and regulatory compliance.
Whether you’re starting a new business, growing an established company or adapting to the changing economic landscape, Canada Business Ontario is your business information connection.
You can join it for business information and networking events that feature representatives from various federal and provincial government organizations.
In addition, they provide the following services:
● Secondary Market Research
● Canada Business Ontario community partners
● Business Guides
● Multilingual Documents
|Local telephone number: 416-775-3456
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday
151 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario M5C 2W7
|Quebec||Info Entrepreneurs’ Strategic Information Center||You can access lists of businesses with profiles and strategic market information with the help of business information experts.
You can gain access to strategic market information thanks to these business information experts in order to develop your business in a specific market. Resources include:
● Online databases
● Market data, sectoral studies and consumption statistics
● Specialized business, trade fair and association directories
● Information on import-export
● Media reviews
|Telephone: 514 496-4636
Fax: 514 496-5934
Telephone: 1 888 576-4444
Fax: 1 888 417-0442
TTY – Toll free number for people who are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing, or who have a speech impediment: 1 800 457-8466. Our TTY lines are open Monday to Friday (except holidays) between 11:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Hours (Eastern Time)
Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Strategic Information Centre Hours for On-Site Research
Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m
|Alberta||Business Links-Market Research Services||For a business research service that is free of charge to help you start or grow your business.
You can access free research services that could help you start or expand your business.
You can get data related to:
● International trade
● Industry news and trends
● Contact information for suppliers, manufacturers/producers, and retailers/distributors/wholesalers
● Competitor lists specific to your business
● Average financial performance ratios for your industry
● Demographic and expenditure information on your potential customers
|Toll Free: 1-800-272-9675
For the deaf or hard of hearing,
#500-10150-100 Street NW Edmonton, AB, T5J 0P6
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday: 8:30am to 4:30pm MST
|Nova Scotia||Canada Business-Nova Scotia Reference Library||Through an information officer, you can access the latest business resources that can help you start or grow your business.
● Start-up guides
● Business plan samples
● Magazines and directories
● Licensed databases
● Social media, management and marketing books and much more
You can get help to research:
● Foreign markets
● Programs and services
● Funding sources, suppliers, and other essential business information
In addition, they can provide the following services:
● Events calendar
● Connections: An immigrant’s guide to starting a business in Nova Scotia
● Subscribe to our bi-weekly e-Blast
|1801 Hollis Street, Suite 700
Halifax, NS, B3J 3C8
Other Sources for Research Material:
Key secondary source of research is ‘Statistical data’ from official statistics providers and other organizations. These statistics in turn can feed into analytical papers and market profiles that can help to put the numbers in context.
A number of quality statistics and analytical resources are available online along with the guidance to help business persons make sense of all the material available including:
- Labour and Employment Data
- Industry Sector Data
- Canadian Economy
- Importing and Exporting
- General Research and Statistics
Other sources of secondary research materials include
- Industry associations
- Government departments at various levels
- Web for sample survey questionnaire
- Companies that allow you to create and conduct online researches
Market Research on Women Entrepreneurs: