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In this post you’re going to learn the 3 main ways to uncover gaps in the market so that you stop the guesswork and actually gain a strong edge over your competitors.
Finding gaps in your industry is the key to achieving long-term success in any business, and the way you do this is through market research. But before you do this, you need to know what you’re looking to achieve. What part of your business or industry are you looking to gain insights into?
Here are the 3 main areas to consider:
These are gaps between how YOU want your brand to be perceived versus how your customers actually view your brand. If the two are aligned - great, there’s nothing for you to do here. If they’re not, we have a brand gap that we need to bridge. For example, you might think your product is affordable & widely available but your customers might think it's expensive and hard to find. You might think your brand fun & approachable but your customers might see it as serious & premium. It’s not necessarily better to be one or the other. The goal here is to ensure your customers think and feel the way you want them to about your brand.
How your customers feel about your brand compared to your competitors. For your business to thrive in the long-term you need to be the obvious choices in your niche. If you’re not, you’ll make life very difficult for yourself, and you’ll be forced to compete on price and use manipulative marketing tactics. Marty Neumeier put it well in his book The Brand Gap; “Can’t be number one or number two?” Redefine your category.”
This is where you uncover information about what customers really need versus what they think or say they need. These are things they often don’t even realise they need because they’re not currently being met by your existing competitors. This is where entirely new innovation of products and services can be born.
Gathering The Data
So we’ve identified the 3 areas where you can uncover gaps in the market, but what sort of information do you actually need in order to make new decisions in your business? Well, there are two types of data you can collect:
This is typically things like numerical data and statistics that tell you what people are doing and what buying decisions they're making, but it doesn’t tell you WHY they're making those decisions. This leads onto the second type of data...
This gives you thinks such as opinions, emotions, and experiences which tell you WHY people make their buying decisions. This is the really valuable information that will help you make innovations in your business.
Now you’re probably wondering: “How do I actually source this data?” There are lots of methods you can use, and which method or combination of methods you go for will be dependent on what information you’re trying to find out, what audiences and platforms you have available to you and, of course, your budget.
Here are a few of the main research methods:
#1 Conduct interviews
Pretty self-explanatory. This is effective for asking people more specific questions about what they buy, who they buy from, why the buy from them, and how they feel about particular brands including your own. It’s important to ensure that the questions you ask have been carefully thought out to help you to find the answers you’re looking for. Interviews can yield quantitative and qualitative results but be aware, people are not always honest especially when they’re put on the spot.
For example, if you asked people whether they buy healthy food or processed food, they might be inclined to say healthy food for fear of being judged. This takes us nicely onto method number 2.
#2 Observational studies
One of the most difficult and most expensive method of research but also one of the most effective. This is where you capture people in their natural habitat so you can truly observe what decisions they make and why.
So going back to our healthy vs processed food example; in the interview they might have told you they buy healthy food all the time. However, if you actually went to the store and observed them you might find that they run straight to the frozen pizza aisle.
#3 Carry out surveys
The easiest way to collect data at scale and can also be exceptionally cheap. This is only really effective for quantitative data though as people generally don’t like to take the time to write out long paragraphs of answers unless you really incentivise them. And even you then, there’s no guarantee that what they’re saying is truthful. You can use platforms such as HubSpot, Typeform, SmartSurvey, and SurveyMonkey to carry out your surveys online, making things very convenient.
#4 Read reviews
One of the best all-round methods for collecting data providing the brands you’re doing research on, whether its your own or a competitor, actually have reviews online. There is so much great information to be extracted from both positive and negative reviews. Positive reviews tell you where competitors are doing well which are things you might want to incorporate in your own business. Negative reviews tell you where they’re going wrong and why they feel their needs are unmet, and that tells you where your brand can fit in to save the day. Use sites such as TrustPilot, Google Reviews, and Facebook to find reviews.
So, choose which methods will work best for you, but remember a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods will yield the best results. This is how you find out what decisions people are making and why. This information is gold for any business. Once you have it, you should get together with your other key decision makers to analyse the data and identify the gaps that will help you stand out in your industry. If you still don’t feel comfortable taking on this task yourself, consider hiring a brand strategist and a market research company.
So, to recap:
Decide which part of your business you’re looking to improve, then decide what information you need from your customers, your competitors, and your industry. Use your chosen research methods to obtain that information. And finally, assess it with your team to find the gaps that you can take advantage of.
Thanks for tuning in. If you learned something new this episode, subscribe to the show for more tips on helping your business stand out. Leave a review on Apple Podcasts and we’ll give you a shout out on the next episode. And if you’re hungry for more great resources or if you’d like to work with us on building your brand head over to venturagency.com - that’s Ventur without the “e”
Stay tuned for the next post where we’ll be talking about the key reasons why your marketing and advertising isn’t generating sales or leads.
Host: Kaine Levy
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