No matter which industry you work in, your consumer is at the heart of your business. And in order for your business to scale, you need to know them inside out. Whenever you launch a new product or tweak an existing one, you have to make some well-informed decisions keeping your customer at the centre of them, to ensure a successful launch.
This is where consumer research takes the wheel.
What is consumer research?
Consumer behaviour research is an aspect of market research that identifies the preferences, motivations, attitudes and purchasing habits of target consumers. Consumer research is vital to improve your product or service, understand consumer decision-making patterns, and build products that have a better market fit. Consumer research methods like interviews, surveys, and polls can be your best friends if you conduct them correctly and at the right time.
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Why is consumer research important?
Human nature is intricate with no exception, and consumers are ever-evolving. Their likes and dislikes, tastes and preferences are constantly changing. Because the market is filled with a million products, capturing the focus of a consumer can be a tricky task. This, alongside people's depleting attention span, makes consumer research a must for every company.
Let’s look at a few aspects of what makes consumer research so vital -
- Understand market readiness:
When you launch a new product, there is a considerable amount of investment that goes in, and you would obviously expect a positive ROI (return on investment). However, if your product is not representative of the needs of your target audience, there are high chances that your investment will fail. Consumer research acts as the bridge between consumer demand and business supply.
2. Understand target audience persona:
As an emerging business, or even as an established one, you need to know who you are selling to. Conducting in-depth consumer research can act as an eye opener since it allows you to identify and analyse your target audience. You can determine who is actually interested in buying your product and on whom your marketing efforts will show results.
What is the target audience’s age group? Where do they live? What motivates them to make a purchase? The answers to these questions allow you to customise your efforts to please a particular customer segment.
3. Improve existing products and services:
As a business, complacency is your death knell and actual market needs keep changing as tech and trends change. Consumer research helps businesses understand consumer standpoints and confront the changes that need to be made to their current offerings to meet market needs and requirements.
4. Proving and disproving hypotheses and eliminating bias:
While developing a product; certain biases can cloud the researchers' judgement. This may result in developing a product that the consumer neither wants nor needs. Accurate results that prove or disprove a hypothesis can be achieved by maintaining a balance between personal ideas and unbiased research-based opinions. Consumer research as a whole would allow you to look at raw data and understand how to separate the truth from what is false.
How do you conduct consumer research?
Research on consumer behaviour can take many forms, some as informal as taking down notes when someone is talking, to more organised and structured data collection endeavours.
There are primarily two types of consumer research- qualitative and quantitative.
- Quantitative Research method
Quantitative research provides businesses with measurable data in the form of numbers and statistics. This data can be mathematically analysed to gain insights into consumer behaviour and consumption patterns. Some of the most popular and effective methods of quantitative research are carrying out surveys and polls.
- Qualitative research methods
Qualitative consumer research is descriptive in nature. It consists of asking open-ended questions with no predefined answer to understand people’s feelings and attitudes toward your business offering. This kind of research is usually carried out through interviews and focus group discussions.
It has become increasingly common for quantitative and qualitative research methods to be combined together, to research the customers' psyche for a single initiative.
Who needs consumer research?
Consumer behaviour research is highly valuable to the marketing and product development departments of an organisation. The information received acts as feedback on products, marketing campaigns, and future products, on the basis of which long-term marketing and research and development strategies are made.
Similarly, startups need to take help from consumer research to learn about their industry, their audience, and their competition. Thanks to consumer research, you get an idea if your startup is moving in the right direction, or if there is a need to make changes in the product, marketing activities or business plan before you launch the company.
To summarise, conducting consumer research is an art, and no one becomes a great artist in a day. You can receive proper guidance and training today by joining Kool Kanya’s course, ‘Consumer research made EASY’. We will take you through the types of consumer research, the tools and methods to conduct research, and research analysis. If you would like to work in a global setting where more and more industries are dependent on data-driven market research to understand consumer behaviour, this course is a must for you!