Researching your market

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Last updated on October 22, 2018

Whether you are starting a business or already in business, market research helps you make informed decisions and make the most of business opportunities.

Researching your market, monitoring your competitors and benchmarking your own business help you reach your target customers, identify new markets, stay competitive and improve your sales performance.

Successful businesses make systematic gathering and analysing market information a core element of their ongoing marketing and sales planning. Effective marketing strategies are often developed through your analysis on market intelligence about the latest economic trends of different markets, opportunities and challenges in your industry, new products and ideas as well as changing consumer and buying behaviour.

When you are starting a business, market research can provide valuable information that helps you understand:

  • the long-term trends that will affect your business
  • the risks associated with your business idea
  • where you should locate your business
  • how much business you can expect if you open at a certain location
  • whether people will purchase your products or services
  • who your customers are likely to be
  • the types of products or services your potential customers want
  • the types of products or services your potential customers don’t want
  • what type of advertising will attract customers to your business
  • who your competitors are
  • the range of products or services that your competitors offer
  • the level of sales your competitors generate.

If you are already in business, market research can help you understand whether:

  • your current advertising is reaching your potential customers
  • there have been any changes in your customers’ spending habits
  • you are offering the right types or amounts of products or services
  • you should vary your trading hours
  • you should establish another outlet
  • there have been changes in the market
  • your competitors have made any recent changes
  • there is scope to increase your prices.

There are two types of market research:

Primary research

Information collected by you firsthand through surveys, interviews, talking to customers and businesses either face-to-face or through online questionnaires or phone surveys.
If you are already in business, your business records are an important source of primary data such as information about your customers and what they buy.

Secondary research

Information gathered by others for other purposes, such as government statistics, trade publications, market reports and industry association newsletters and publications.

Sources include:

  • accountants and bankers
  • advertising agencies
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Business Enterprise Centres
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • libraries
  • local councils
  • newspapers
  • TAFE Tasmania and university research organisations.

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