USA: Conducting market research

So what are the tricks to doing your homework about your US markets before risking millions of hours, pounds and potentially expensive and high-profile mistakes?

1. Profile your target customers/clients, not just from US Census data or published statistical reports, but also by going out and observing them first-hand. How do Americans behave in the environment you plan to offer him/her? How are your US customers’ tastes different from those at home in the UK?

2. Interview these target segments to assess how well they match your preconceived ideal. It may be that there is a fantastic match and that little refinement is needed to your current range of products/services in the UK.

3. Alternatively, a major product or packaging redesign might be necessary. Hire local researchers who know the costs and methods that are workable in those local US markets. As local research experts know the costs of each type of research very well, you’d be advised to heed their warnings about the most cost effective methods that get your organisation the quality of results you need.

4. Use a variety of methods – not just one – to give you a rounded picture of these US markets. Often companies rely solely on quantitative methods and miss the wood for the trees as a result. The best approach is a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods that provide a picture not just of preferences and strength of beliefs of your consumers or clients, but also the anecdotes which often are profoundly useful in the PR and advertising messages about the benefits expected – in words and priorities that differ from your UK markets. Cost-effective (often free!) and easy-to-use online research tools exist to help you do this, including Survey Monkey.

5. Look at the findings while asking yourself “So what does this imply I need to do differently from the way I do it in the UK?” Research tables are dull reading at the best of times, and miss the important issue of how your future marketing activities abroad may be affected. By asking “What do I do as a result?” after looking at the raw data you’ll find yourself talking in terms of actions rather than data.

Countries: United States
Topics: Insights & Statistics and Market Research
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