Friday, May 14, 2010

3 Key Steps For a Great Market Study

The market study and competitive review must reach beyond the commonly available to compel investors and to drive your business plan. This requires a few key approaches to achieve. First, the study must be supported by a good study founded on the general market information.

This does not make a great study and unfortunately too many studies stop at this point. Second, the study must extend itself to get behind the scenes and to ferret out the underlying not commonly understood facts.

Third, the study must provide analysis and organization to tie the first two areas together as a unique competitive position. The third step is where differentiation originates.

In review, the three areas are:

1. General market background and information,

2. Behind the scenes market facts, processes, trends, and developments,

3. In depth analysis of the first two areas as it relates to the business supported by the study identifying differentiating opportunities and initiatives.

In more detail, the general market information encompasses industry news, general news, government reports, survey sources, and market research company information. In general most studies tend to rely on the first two. However, a study should be thorough and including the last three is an important part of the process that is often under delivered effecting negatively the final product.

Next, one of the greatest opportunities and generally largest weakness of studies is the information is not actually "unique". A good market study will include actual research with competitors, sources of substitutes, and with academic research.

In short the study, should go beyond what you can find on the real estate. Did you know that Milton Hershey (the founder of Hershey Chocolate) not only visited competitor sites, but on trips to Europe actually applied for work in candy factories to learn more about production methods?

Have you considered that Bill Gates early experience as a programmer gave him a competitive advantage developing Microsoft. While these actions were far beyond the scope of a market study, they show how important reaching beyond the commonly available can be.

Finally, in depth analysis means not only looking at the facts and figures, but based upon the information offering actionable ideas to achieve a competitive advantage. For example, did you know that 36% of new households will be Hispanic over the next decade?

If you are in consumer products, how can you gain an advantage over your competitors with this? Perhaps you should include Spanish home pages on your websites. Will you make hiring Spanish speaking staff a priority? What is your competition doing and how can you use this information to gain long term traction?

Taking these three steps will result in a market study that stands out for the quality of work, the uniqueness of information extending beyond the common place, and action focused analysis providing a real competitive advantage.

By : Blake_Dale_Ratcliff

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