market research benefits

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Do you ever feel like you have a secret and you aren’t sure if you should tell someone or not? Here’s mine: on my birthday, my best friend got me two presents.

He bought me a chocolate covered cherries from a friend of mine, and, because he’s nice, he purchased the same product from an artisan competitor. Get that?

He got me the same present from two different sources. In a nutshell, this is market research. We look at what our competitors are doing before we do anything ourselves so we can see what works and what doesn’t.

What should we look at?

How we package our goods

My friend packed her cherries in a plain white box. The large papers slid everywhere. The artisan chose a durable plastic carton with a  big gold bow.

For one, I hate plastic, but I couldn’t argue with the luxury of how this gift was wrapped. It looked like a gift. Do a cost comparison to see if it makes sense for you to package your goods in a prettier way. Can you pass that cost on to the consumer?

If we are doing market research when it comes to services, think about the little things that equal your “packaging.” Do you return calls promptly? Are your social media profiles designed with your brand in mind? How do you look to the outside world, and how do you treat clients once they are onboard with you.

Delivery methods of our product

Most of us don’t mind paying for delivery. And depending on how much you charge, you may need to charge for it. Be honest about this.

In a service industry, make sure you test the process for ecourses, sign-ups or downloads. Remember that people hate to be charged small, petty fees. Roll these into your costs for a flat rate instead of adding on $5 here or $10 there.

Pricing of the product

I know this is a can of worms. Different business have different ways of pricing. The only rule is that you think through, logically, how your sales funnel will work and what it will equate to.

Let me clarify that the artisan chocolatier charged $50 for 1/2 pound of chocolate and my friend charged $20. Logically, how much is chocolate worth?

Market research gives you a good benchmark for what you should be charging and/or how you can get a leg up on the competition with what you do charge. Little things like free delivery, or bonus materials, may be the difference between why someone chooses you.

Case in point, a local ice cream vendor charges $5/pint. Ben and Jerry’s charges $3.50.Will I buy the unknown local brand, or the nationally recognized niche brand that’s less expensive? If you want to convert testers to believers, you have to be aware of what your competition charges.

Quality of the product/service

There’s a little piece of this equation that’s nagging me; my friend’s product was phenomenal. She nailed the taste, the texture, the melt-in-your-mouth feel of the delicious cherries.

How does your product compare to the competition? Do you have the best product but the presentation is holding you back from charging way more (i.e. do you need personal branding, a better website, a new design to your business cards.)

Even if the only action you take is to research your competition once a year, make sure you are always keeping an eye out for who else is doing what you do and exactly how they do it.

Elspeth Misiaszek uses her writing and online marketing skills to help vegan businesses, coaches and entrepreneurs increase sales on their websites and blogs. Is it SEO? Get our FREE blogging resource today.