Market research essential for business success

Posted on April 20, 2015

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Successful technologies, processes, innovations and business all have one thing in common – an in-depth understanding of their consumers, competitors and industry’s environment. This understanding is a result of the analysis of comprehensive market research.

Sometimes we may think our innovative product/service is unique and exempt for competitive pressures or economic, social or political risks, but research and facts provide an accurate portrayal of these risks and can also reveal opportunity. As a developer or innovator, you continually collect market information about your product/service, consumer and industry all the time, whether you realize it or not. By formally collecting this information you can interpret data to provide insights and therefore increase your product/service’s value, differentiate from competitors and mitigate external risks.

By conducting market research, you can:

Discover what your end user really wants and needs. Often times we think we know what our target market is looking for. Market research can either confirm these speculations or reveal new desired attributes.

Find where your buyers are. Market research can help locate your target market and determine what makes a successful points of sale (wholesale, retail, distributor, online). By comparing characteristics of channels and the value of each point of sale, you can determine where your customer is most likely to buy.

Determine a rational selling price, which is a critical success factor for any product or service. Market research reveals what buyers expected selling price and how they interpret different pricing strategies.

Recognize changes in demand, industry trends and new opportunities such as a new target market, a demand for an augmented version of your existing product, or social movements. These changes can lead to increase in profits and market share. 

Monitor and identify your competitors by understanding their elements such as price, marketing strategies, distribution channels, product attributes, and research & development efforts. You can learn how consumers compare you to your competitors and discover your competitive advantages.

Plan for commercial shifts such as the economy and political agendas which can provide opportunities or create barriers to entry. You can plan for inventory requirements, staff, prices and partnerships by understanding the economic and political landscape.

Besides the primary research that is collected through your own efforts, Canadian companies can access a variety of secondary information.

Some resources are:

Square One: Square One has access to numerous licensed databases that provide accurate information across North America. Our services are provided to entrepreneurs, small business owners, innovators and product/service developers free of charge. Visit www.squareonesask.ca/market-research-reports for secondary research report examples and www.squareonesask.ca/core-services for a list of services.

Canada Business Network (CBN): CBN is a website specifically created for Canadian Small to Medium Sized Enterprises that provides information, toolkits and resources. CBN provides sources of secondary research for a variety of data subjects.

Demographics
Industry Sector Data
Canadian Economy
International Markets
Importing/Exporting
Environment
Site Selection
General Research and Statistics  

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS): Federal classification of industries for the purpose of collecting and analyzing data.

Canada
USA

Community Profiles: Comprehensive listing of information on communities and regions. Provides detailed information on local geography, community history, economic information etc.

Saskatchewan
Canada

CANSIM: Statistics Canada's key socioeconomic database.

Canadian Industry Statistics presents and analyses industry data on a number of economic indicators using the latest annual data sources from Statistics Canada. 
Industry Canada 

Canadian Company Capabilities: Find companies that can supply your organization with the goods, services and technology it needs.

Trade Data Online: Generate customized reports on Canada's and U.S. trade in goods with over 200 countries and search by product or industry.

Industry Canada SME Benchmarking Tool: Estimate the operating costs, view financial performance averages in your industry and compare with your own financial data.

Conference Board of Canada: Economic trends, organizational performance and public policy issues

 

Other sources of primary research:

  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Consumer reports
  • Local, municipal, provincial, and federal government departments and agencies
  • Business and industry associations / trade publications / periodicals
  • Business and industry trade shows and exhibitions
  • Local public, business, and educational institution libraries
  • Business professional services, i.e. accountants, lawyers, consultants, financial institutions etc.
  • Business and educational seminars/courses, etc.

This article was provided by Square One, Saskatchewan’s Business Resource Centre. Square One is managed by the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority. Supported by Western Economic Diversification Canada.