The Importance of Market Research
Every company should use Market Research. Regardless of the level, the R.O.I from this is positive. The organization to which I am familiar with is a hardware store I worked at several years ago. Potter's Ace Hardware may be part of the Ace family, but they operate on principles that are far from it. In this paper I will describe how I think that proper marketing research can benefit the organization, and increase business.
Marketing Research is defined as the process or set of processes that links the consumers, customers, and end users to the marketer through information, according to wikipedia. However Entrepreneur.com defines it as the process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information about a market. There are numerous definitions of what it is used for, but this author tends to lean toward the latter definition. Regardless of the definition you chose, the main goal is to get the company to align their product with the customer in the most efficient way. This can be anything from demographic to psychographic.
First I would like to offer a little background on as to why I believe that this organization has issues that need to be addressed. Years ago, when I worked there, they were a thriving business that needed little help. They supplied to most of the contractors in this area. But in the past years, the customer base has dwindled down to hardly anything more than a small project store, and other stores have picked up their business. The issue I will address is how they could go about earning business back.
The main problem is the contractors have decided to go elsewhere for their needs. The best way to find out why is to explore it further. Setting up meetings with the contractors that have moved on, as well as the consumers that currently shop there can help you improve the business back to the way it was. The goal is to get them to come back to you for your needs, and by addressing their needs directly, they will fell more connected with the business. This is also find areas that are less desired and ways to fix them. Examples of this is focus groups, surveys, and open ended questions. This can be done at anytime, even when your business is flourishing, improvement is always available.
Being a hardware store, you wouldn't think that descriptive research would make much difference. But I believe that this would be a situation that a SWOT analysis would fit here. Any business can benefit from a SWOT analysis. As there are a few other viable options in the area, checking out the competition to can really help to make your business attractive. By finding out what they offer that is valued, you can possible offer the same services. In this business, a missed opportunity can create a hole wide enough to drive a truck through. If a contractor has to go to 2-3