There are two main ways of getting the market intelligence you need: Primary research and secondary research.
Primary research is when you go out and ask people. This can be focus groups, surveys (online, offline) or polls. However, as you can not ask every single person in your target audience you have to make assumptions and extrapolations. This can mean that incorrect projections are made. As an example of primary research that seems to go wrong just look at polls regarding elections can be wrong, even when looking at the poll of polls which combines all the data (the US election in 2016 and 2020, the 2016 referendum in the UK are just a couple of examples). There are various reasons for that – people may tell you what they think you want to hear; the size of the sample is too small; the breakdown of the sample does not match the overall audience. Figures are given with a range to try and take account of that, but sometimes those ranges are not just enough.
Primary research can be very useful though – for taste tests of a new food, helping to decide on a colour scheme (years ago Sainsburys sent me an email to vote for my preference in their new Freefrom packaging colour scheme as someone who buys gluten free products), testing products and evaluating customer interactions / services.
Secondary research is desk research. It involves trawling the internet, magazines, newspapers, journals for the information needed. There are a lot of reports out there that can be very useful. For example if you have a product or service that you want to launch to SMEs then the EU have freely available annual reports on the size of the SME market by country by sector and company size. You can see if the market size is as you expect it to be. Companies like Statista have some free of charge reports or parts of reports, as they hope that you will pay for one of their chargeable reports.
Whenever completing secondary research the source of the data needs to be one that you trust, that is credible. There is a lot of misleading and fake information out there on the web. But that shouldn’t stop you from looking and seeing if you can verify from multiple sources if not a source that you know already.
At the moment Cut Through Marketing is working on market research surveys for two new food ventures (non-competing with each other and totally different propositions and products), education technology and health technology. It is good to know that companies are wanting to have data to back up their targets, their propositions, their proposed campaigns.
One of the hardest things I have ever had to do is tell a start-up that their price point was wrong, that his product was not unique (as he thought), that the amount of companies in their target sector was a lot smaller than they had estimated and that projections were that they would not make any money. The owner of the start-up turned to me and said “You have to be wrong, I’ve already spent £50K of my own money on this product development.” When he looked through my detailed report and the sources I had used (UK Government, EU reports and so on) he then realised that the research should have been done earlier and he could have saved himself that £50K, or redirected the product into a different area.
If you want to have a market evaluated then drop us a line and we’ll see how we can help.