Most new entrepreneurs believe that they have an inherent understanding of their market. This is largely because most new entrepreneurs created their products or services to fill a hole in their specific market.
The problem with this approach, though: even though you are a part of your market, you are not the entire market. Sure you think of yourself as a pretty average example of what people in your market are like, but you can’t know that for sure without spending some time learning about your specific demographic.
Why You Need to Do Market Research
According to the Small Business Administration, doing market research helps you spot problems in your industry (that you might be able to fix), reduce the risk of accidentally messing up your business and identify potential opportunities for sales.
Beyond this, doing market research can help you learn so much more about your target audience than you would learn by simply looking at yourself. You can learn about the demographic makeup of your audience. You can learn about their fears, their pet peeves, what needs they need to have met, and more. Knowing, based on data and not hunches, what motivates your audience to buy (or not to buy) is the key to actually making money with your company.
For example, if Coors had done it’s due diligence, they probably would have known that printing the Puerto Rican flag on their cans wouldn’t be received well.
Media Market Research Is Vital
Nowhere is market research more important than in the media. You undoubtedly understand the frustration of seeing ad after ad marketing cleaning products to women and cars and trucks to men. How many times have you read about public outcry because a company’s ad was sexist or racist?
Think back to some of the ads that you’ve found distasteful. Maybe the PETA ads that used vegetables in a sexually suggestive manner really made you angry. Maybe the recent outrage over Microsoft’s paying vloggers to feature the XBox One system in videos has gotten your attention. Perhaps you, too, are angry at the teen group in Michigan who put Martin Luther King Jr’s face over someone else’s body in a “freedom to twerk” ad that was used to promote a teen dance.
If these groups (even the teen group) had done any market research at all, they would have known that these tactics wouldn’t be received well.
Whether you’re trying to sell a media product or market your product, it is important that you solicit professional market research for the media industry – you can access these resources online or through agencies. This will help you match up your demographics to ensure that your product (or placement) plays well and actually makes you money instead of risking your message falling on deaf or defiant ears.
How to Do Market Research
There are a lot of different ways that you can do market research. The Small Business Association has a great guide that you can use to help you figure out how to gather the information you need to truly understand your target audience inside and out.