Importance of Marketing Plan and Market Research

Every company should have some kind of marketing plan in order to get more customers. It is very important for a businessman to have a marketing plan. Without any experience or proper knowledge on how to handle business, he can’t survive in the industry. If you are new in this industry, it’s very important for you to read marketing plan and market research.

Knowing the importance of marketing plan and market research is very important for any entrepreneur. Without prior knowledge of how to lay down a solid marketing plan, you will be left in the dark about how to introduce your product or service into the market.

 Easily Spot Business Opportunities

After you’ve done your market research, it’ll be clear to you who you want to reach out to (your target customers), where you can reach them (your marketing channels), and what they’re interested in. Once you’ve defined these, you’ll be able to easily spot business opportunities. For example:

  • Form partnerships with other businesses. Learning about who your customers are, such as their demographics, can help you find other small businesses that serve them. You can approach these businesses for joint promotions that’ll be mutually beneficial.
  • Create profitable order upgrades. Knowing the other products and services that your customers tend to buy can help you come up with add-ons, product bundles, and upsells that increase the average value of each order.
  • Find new locations to sell to. Knowing the geographical areas where most of your target customers live will allow you to create compelling targeted campaigns that suit the needs and culture of that area.

 Lower Business Risks 

Around half of businesses with employees don’t survive past the fifth year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The way to make sure that your business survives for longer is to ensure that you’ve got a steady stream of sales and customers. To do that, you need market research.

Regular market research will be your way to check in with your current customers and potential customers to ensure that you’re still meeting their needs. Here’s how you can apply this:

  • Test new designs and products before launching. Before you go all-in on a dramatic change for your business, you can test it on a smaller subset of your audience to see if the change would be welcome. For example, if you plan to do a redesign of a popular product, show the new design to your most frequent buyers. Test or ask them if they’re more likely to buy the new design versus, an alternative new design, or the old design.
  • Find out why customers don’t come back. Ideally, your small business should have recurring customers. If they don’t come back, you can conduct a survey of previous customers or set up a focus group to find out why you’re not making any repeat sales.
  • Get insights on problem areas. If your most popular product sees a big drop in sales for three consecutive months, you need to find out how to fix it before it ruins your profits completely. Survey your most frequent customers about the product and find out where the problem lies. It could be anything from a decline in the product quality or a glitch on your online store. You’ll never know unless you ask.

Create Relevant Promotional Materials

If you’ve ever wondered what text or images to put on your fliers, website, or social media accounts, with thorough market research, you’ll know exactly what to do. Since target customers have already expressed all their wants, needs, and frustrations with you, you’ll know exactly what to address and how to address it when you start creating your marketing materials.

For example, author Tiffany Sun surveyed her readers to find out which problems they’re trying to solve. Instead of coming up with blog topics or headlines in a vacuum, she uses the results of this survey to brainstorm compelling topics.

Survey results for market research
Surveying your audience about their main problem points can help you create compelling content for them.

Here are some other ways your marketing materials will be easier to create:

  • Knowing whether customers see your products and services as a necessity or as a luxury can help you design your product labels, brochures, and website that fits their perception.
  • Identifying the age range of your customers can tell you the type of language you’ll be using in your promotional materials. You’ll write differently when addressing retired Baby Boomers than you would when addressing young professionals.

Know Where to Advertise

One of the problems that small business owners face is a limited budget. Because of this, your marketing budget should be optimized to give you the best returns possible. Your market research can help ensure that you’re reaching your intended audience in the channels where they’re most likely to see your message.

These are some of the budgetary tasks that your market research can help with:

  • Buying ads on social media. If your market research shows that your target audience spends most of their time on Instagram and almost never use Twitter, you’ll know to direct most of your social media ad budget to Instagram and forget about Twitter.
  • Placing flyers and posters. Knowing the physical spaces where your customer spends their time will tell you where you can best place your advertising. For example, university students are likely to be on campus, so placing ads for that market means that you can try bulletin boards on campus or outside local establishments that their crowd tends to frequent.
  • Targeting ads. Online ads such as social media ads and pay-per-click ads can often be targeted with precision. This means that you can target based not just on the usual demographic data, but also based on online behaviors, life stage, and interests. If you truly know your customers, you’ll be able to maximize the potential for targeting. For example: here are some of the targeting options for Facebook Ads:
Targeting options for Facebook Ads

 Outsell Competitors

The business that knows their customers more tends to win more. If you can beat your competitors at finding out your customers’ needs and you aim to fulfill those needs, you’ve got a better chance of standing out from the competition. Here are some ways you can use market research to outsell competitors:

  • Target dissatisfied customers. Asking target customers about their frustrations with your competitors’ products or reading their product reviews can help you improve your own products and market them to an audience ready to switch brands.
  • Find an underserved customer segment. Your market research might reveal that there’s a segment of the market that your competition has neglected. This will give you a new customer segment to reach out to.
  • Identify unaddressed customer needs. During your market research, you might uncover some customer pain points or desires that you don’t see addressed in your competitors’ marketing materials. Try including them in your own marketing and see if the results show an increase in sales.

How to plan market research?

Effective market research starts with knowing what you are trying to accomplish and what information you need.

You can do it yourself. For example, if you are considering buying or renting a store, you can analyze traffic levels at different times. Or you can talk to your potential customers.

However, in order to make good business decisions, you’re going to need a more comprehensive approach. For example, if you conduct a market survey, you will need a survey software to design a survey, customize the look and feel and generate reports. You might also want to integrate the tool with other CRM and marketing automation software. A survey software can let you export results in standard formats or share the reports with others. You can also create online surveys in multiple languages and let your respondents select the language of their choice.

One of the most important aspects of planning market research is asking the right questions. Design the survey such that it collects meaningful and high quality data.

Conclusion

Every business requires a marketing plan to increase sales. A marketing plan is a schedule that ensures that the right message is delivered to the right audience at the right time. It helps you create your strategy, mold your ideas, and run your business smoothly. There are several types of research you can conduct to have a better picture of your target market. You are now ready to put together all the components of your marketing plan so you can start with what works for you.

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