Thinking about a start up or entering a new market?

Don’t dive in without doing at  least “some” market research.

OK, you’ve got a great idea for a new business or maybe just a new market    for a business you already have. Remember, all new ideas are good ideas, mainly because YOU came up with them.

However, the bad news is all new ideas are not equal. Some are great, some just so so and, unfortunately, some are downright bad and could end up costing you a lot of money.

So, what is a hopeful, optimistic entrepreneur to do?

Invest some of your time, and not necessarily a lot of your money,  getting some information about your brainchild of an idea. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. But doing the minimum before you jump in will provide you two things:

  1. It  just may save you from making a big mistake. There are no guarantees and a bad idea may still “look” good until it meets the realities of the real world, but SOME information is better than NO information when evaluating an investment.
  2. However, if the idea continues to “look” good, even after you have gained just a little information, gathering that information can help you begin the marketing planning you will need to launch and grow a new business.

Your Basic (Quick & Short) Checklist

1. Target Audience: How big is it? How are your competitors reaching it? How will you reach it (and for how much)?

2. Who are your competitors? Are there many of them? Does your idea offer something they don’t?

3. What do you think can be your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)? Aim for more than just a lower price, more              product options or longer credit/faster delivery. Those are just “things” that a competitor can ultimately offer.             Try  to discover what will make your idea different AND  better in the customer’s eyes.

Basic (and Free) Market Research

  1.  Shop/observe your competitors. Go to their stores. Talk to their employees.  Check out their advertising and social media activities. If they are good marketers, this will tell you a lot about how they see the market and how they approach it. It doesn’t matter if they are B2B or B2C businesses. All of this is information helps you understand where are the obstacles and opportunities for your idea.
  2.  Check out the local Chamber of Commerce and trade associations/organizations and see who are their members in the space you plan to enter. Here in Phnom Penh, the American Chamber of Commerce has a special SME/Start Up Committee you can join. You can join join or just visit other local non-governmental organizations like the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Cambodia. These can be good sources for networking and sharing information.
  3. If there is a trade association related to your business idea in your area, contact them for all formation they have. Such organizations are eager to promote their specific industries and companies. Also, make sure you review the free information in the Yellow Pages, on-line articles and relevant websites via the search engines.

No matter what your idea and the limited “research” you do to evaluate it, at some point you will want better, more complete information to fully analyze the market and form the most effective marketing plan you can. Make sure you choose a research provider that helps you ask the right questions and get the most effective answers. We can do that for you.  Leverage Research Solutions.

Vietnam Government Needs Agricultural Market Research & Analysis to Help Balance Oversupply or Shortages

Vietnam News Agency is reporting that Đặng Kim Sơn, former head of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, has called for the State to establish agencies to conduct market research/analyses to reduce risks of oversupply or shortages in agricultural products.

Vietnam, which ranks 31st in the world for percentage of GDP coming from Agriculture, has historically seen wide swings in that sector’s contribution to total GDP. In 4th Quarter 2016 total Agriculture was valued at 468 Billion VND, 1st Quarter 2017 saw that level drop to 67 Billion VND, a 70% change.

The country is now taking significant action using market research and analysis to enable better management of the agricultural output for both domestic and export markets.

“The farmers need the State to help them study the market and provide information about directions to be taken, such as standards, policies and distribution systems. When the State provides full and up-to-date information for producers and traders, they will be able to make reasonable decisions on production and business to reduce losses for them and the economy as a whole,” Sơn said.

Since the initiative appears to be in its early stages, there is little known about the specific market research methodologies to be used. However, very likely there will be both qualitative and quantitative research involved, combined with analyses and projections from the responsible state agencies. Ministries, sectors and localities will need to work together to generate the most representative and useful information.

It will be an interesting period to watch. And reinforces our Leverage Research Solutions philosophy: “More effective research means better decisions.”

For the full article:

B2B Spending on Market Research Low…and Going Lower?

A recent survey by ESOMAR* estimated that just 4% of market research spending is on business to business projects. Perhaps, even more shocking is the fact that this year’s latest percentage is DOWN from last year’s 8%.  Andrew Dalglish of Circle Research has a nice write up on that which puts it in perspective.

*For those of you who have no idea who or what ESOMAR is, the following is provided: ESOMAR stands for World Association of Opinion and Marketing Research Professionals (formerly European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research).

The 4% level is shockingly (maybe even unbelievably) low since approximately 50% of businesses in developed countries are fully or partially involved in business-to-business marketing. (Editor’s Note: I don’t believe it is that low, either.)

Thankfully and with full attribution to Andrew, there are a number of points to consider, before all the B2B market researchers start jumping out of windows.

As Andrew writes, “First off, the data may be distorting the true picture a little. ESOMAR’s 4% figure relates to the percentage of market research spend, not market research projects. As business to business market research requires smaller sample sizes than consumer studies, this tends to make them less expensive than their consumer counterparts. This means that the proportion of business to business market research projects may actually be greater than 4%.”

Think of it this way. If you are a manufacturer of big jet engines and you want to research among prospective customers , your research universe is probably less than 100 of the major international airlines. On the other hand, if you’re researching flier interest in having a wifi internet option onboard during an international flight, the total universe is many, many millions. Guess which research project costs more.

But Andrew has some additional considerations that may explain (and question) the 4% number, specifically:

  • “Business to business purchases are seen as ‘rational’ which can lead to the mind-set that “it’s obvious what customers want, so we don’t need to ask”
  • Business to business companies are often ‘engineering’ led. This can lead to a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality and an internal focus
  • In business to business markets customer numbers are limited and relationships with sales teams close. This can lead to assumption (“I know my customer”), subjectivity (“I’ll ask them next time we speak”) and protectiveness (“that’s my customer”), none of which are conducive to conducting objective, independent market research.”

Maybe with all the above in mind, business-to-business marketers should think about investing MORE in research. Those that  do may find they get to know and understand their customers and markets better, and for them … that will translate to business success.