5 Major Market Research Mistakes Every Startup Must Avoid

Group of business people analysis with marketing report graph, Young specialists are discussing business ideas for new digital start up project.
Group of business people analysis with marketing report graph, Young specialists are discussing business ideas for new digital start up project.

You may be tempted to ask your friends and family for feedback if you have a business idea or concepts to better your product. However, you need the feedback of a well-defined target market in order to succeed rather than of those you know intimately. As a startup, you have to take very calculated risks without which the business would fail. This is where market research comes into play.

Here are common market research mistakes that most startups end up making.

  1. Not Investing in Professional Market Research Software

Think using professional market research software is expensive? Not using it will cost you more.  Professional software is an investment that will give you critical data and insights which will increase your ROI in the long run. You can use the data derived from market research to make important business decisions.

Don’t assume that focus groups and surveys are unaffordable for a startup. Marketing research can cost a few thousand dollars annually, which is affordable.

Hire a market research professional or invest time in learning how to conduct market research and gain insights from it. If you learn how to do effective research, you can carry out market research at a fraction of the cost.

  • Targeting the Wrong Audience

It is important to understand your target audience. By focusing on the wrong audience, you will miss out on what your actual target audience has to say. Use the right marketing channels and data collection tools to gather market research.

The right data collection tools will help you understand your customers better and meet their expectations. Different types of data collection tools include interviews, customer surveys, focus groups, and customer observation.

  • Focusing on Competitors Way Too Much

When you focus too much on your competitors, you may end up developing strategies that may look similar to theirs. Customers will find this repetitive and get bored by the similarities. Focusing too much on the competitors will deprive you of the chance to develop a unique voice that can stand out from the competitors.

Be aware of what the competitors are doing but develop innovative marketing strategies based on your research. This will help you reach your target audience and uniquely connect with them.

  • Relying Just on Secondary Research

There are two forms of research:

  • Primary Research: This is the first-hand knowledge that you gain from the market. You use tools like surveys and focus groups for this research.
  • Secondary Research: These are usually published studies available online or in magazines, journals and publications. 

Secondary research is easily accessible but relying on just that would be a huge mistake. You will get generic information rather than focused on information that actually concerns your target audience. Primary research allows you to target your efforts and understand customers’ attitudes in real-time.

  • Relying on Opinions of Family and Friends

Relying on the feedback and opinions of friends and family will do you more harm than good. They won’t be honest with their opinions if they feel it may hurt your feelings.

Talk to real customers about your strategies and ideas. Take actions based on their feedback. Fall back on friends and family for support, not market research.

Don’t downplay the importance of gaining customer insight through market research. If you launch your business or product without talking to a single potential customer, you would be doomed for failure.

Author Bio:

Bhavika Sharma is a survey designer at SurveySparrow, where she designs surveys that work by making them more conversational and engaging. When she isn’t designing killer surveys, she loves to travel, searching for adventure and meeting new people. Her travel experiences have taught her the importance of conversation, and that is what she brings to the table while creating surveys or content for her readers.


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