Startup Marketing Research

“The purpose of a business is to create customers, therefore businesses must focus on two basic functions, marketing and innovation, every other thing is cost”-Peter Drucker.

The aim of marketing is to know and understand your customer so well that the product or service fits the customer. One of the ways you can get to know your customer is through marketing research.

Marketing research is essentially market research in addition to consumer and/or customer research. It is basically the research to get to know the customers, their needs and wants, how and where they shop and buy products, their income and what they spend money on. Basically getting to know the customer and the market in which they exist.

The marketing research process in a startup is different from a corporation due to the fast paced and constantly changing life cycle of a startup.

Source: Magnetude Consulting www.slideshare.net

A startup marketing research process should be a holistic and cyclic process, in which other key research questions are answered but give primary focus to certain aspects of the research during each phase.

1. Idea/Concept
The first key focus for a startup is to validate its idea or concept. At this point, most of the research it needs to do should be around validating that there is a market for this idea. What pain point is it solving? What are the trends that show that there is a potential user or customer for this idea?

2. Alpha
During this point, the startup should be focused more on market segmentation. Basically trying to answer the questions, Who is the customer? and who is the non-customer?

3. Beta
The start up at this point should be focused on finding out how their revenue model affects the business. Price analysis becomes one of the primary research during this process.

4. Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Though there have been several MVP’s during the other phases, this is a key MVP that precedes the actual product launch. You want to focus your research on the competitive landscape. This helps in properly articulating the value proposition and perfecting the product.

5. Launch
This part of the research should be focused on how the product is resonating with the customers in the market. What are they saying about the product? How strong is the customer interest? What are they employing your product or service to do for them?

6. Repeat
In scaling the business you basically go through the same loop, refining the idea, creating customers, understanding the market and how it is growing, looking at competition and what they are offering.

Every startup wants customers, and the best way to get customers is to make what customers love. The only way to make what customer’s love is to know your customers. Marketing research is a key tool in getting to know your customers.

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