Market research is something business owners know they need to do, but don’t always get around to doing. Many company managers aren’t sure how market research can benefit their business or improve their bottom line. Research focused on your particular sector can be the first step to evaluating your business’ strengths and its weaknesses. To succeed and to thrive in your company’s arena, knowing your customer, identifying opportunities, making better business decisions and understanding your competition are all mechanisms for achieving that goal, and implementing a solid market research strategy is a surefire way to get there.

Don’t assume you know your customer, or that your current customer base is the only one out there. Successful market research can dig up abundant information on trends, demographics, personality variables and methods for accessing unmet customer needs. Businesses can utilize this information to improve their customer relationships and break into entirely new markets. Making sound business decisions based on market research results means increasing your audience and in turn, helping your business to access new customers.

Another value of market research is analyzing your competition. If you don’t know who is out there and what they are doing, how can you implement strategies without throwing caution to the wind? To dominate your market, you have to know what your competitors are doing right, know their services, products and how to anticipate their next move. Solid market research can help to answer these questions and more. For example, what can you do better than your competitors and what opportunities are they missing that you can capitalize on? Without this in-depth information, your business strategy will suffer.

Market research is a deeper dig into data; it is more than a google search. A qualified research professional can deliver and synthesize a wealth of information your company didn’t know existed. It’s a small investment with a big payoff for your business’ success. Keep in mind, if you’re not engaged in analysis of your market sector, your competition probably is-and not exercising a research strategy may itself be affecting your business’ bottom line. How much do you know about the market you are operating in?