Want to Grow Your Business? Use Market Research

Take the guesswork out of defining your customers’ needs and your competition.

As a small business owner, you sometimes need to take on responsibilities outside your comfort zone, including marketing. Effective marketing relies on knowing both your competition and your market. Market research can help hit both of these targets.

A recent study from research firm Hinge showed that a key difference between companies with high growth and those with no growth was that the high-growth firms were more than twice as likely to have used research.[1] What’s the benefit? The more you find out about what your customers want, the easier it will be to become profitable.

Some business owners shy away from research because they either think they know their market already or worry that research will be too expensive. However, market research can help take the guesswork out of what your customers need and want, and it may help you understand your own biases toward your products or services. In some cases, you can do a fair amount of the legwork yourself to reduce the cost of research.

Here are a few tips to consider in conducting market research:

Find new growth areas. Research can give you a clearer sense of your position within the industry, which can help you reduce business risk and spot problem areas — and highlight key growth opportunities.

Take advantage of government data. The U.S. government, for example, has a wealth of information available to you at little or no cost, including demographics, economic indicators, employment statistics, and income and earnings data.[2]

Use available academic research. Getting information from already available sources, such as business magazines and academic institutions that perform their own research on business trends, is a smart tactic. Use it to learn more about your customers and competitors.

Join a trade group or an industry association. While trade associations will be made up of your competitors, getting to know them will give you deeper insights into your competition and your industry or sector. Joining an industry group will also widen your network and help expose your services to the market.

Evaluate professional market research firms. While their services can be costlier than you might be accustomed to paying, market research firms could increase your advantage and help hone your message to reach potential clients more effectively.

Commit to an ongoing market research strategy. Markets change, and you can adapt more nimbly if you’re closely attuned to what’s happening. As a small business, you have less margin for error, so you need to focus on your core business strengths.

Earn Double Miles

With a PNC Travel Rewards Visa® Business Credit Card, you can earn double miles on your first $2,500 in eligible net purchases.

Find Out How »

More eNews

Get Helpful Articles Like This Sent Automatically to your Inbox Every Quarter.

Subscribe Today


Solutions

Get More Solutions for Accountants and Attorneys.

pnc.com/accountants
pnc.com/attorneys

Why choose PNC? »


Start Your Cash Flow Conversation
Give us a call at 1-855-PNC-CFO5 (1-855-762-2365) or fill out our simple form and a PNC Business Banking representative will get in touch with you.
Request a Contact »

Associated Products & Services

PNC Mobile Deposit Now Offers PNC Express Funds

When you deposit an approved check from your mobile phone, PNC Express Funds gives you the option, for a fee, to make the full amount available immediately for withdrawals and purchases.

Learn More »

Find the Right Account for Your Business

Managing business cash flow starts with the right foundation — a PNC business checking solution with features and services suitable for your everyday transaction needs.

View Account Options »

Cash Flow Insight℠

Manage your business's cash flow with efficiency, control and insight with our innovative suite of online tools.

Learn More »

Important Legal Disclosures and Information

  1. www.aberdeenessentials.com/cmo-essentials/4-ways-market-research-can-help-professionals-services-firm-grow

  2. www.sba.gov/starting-business/how-start-business/understand-your-market

The article(s) you are reading were prepared for general information purposes by Manifest, LLC. These articles are for general information purposes only and are not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. PNC urges its customers to do independent research and to consult with financial and legal professionals before making any financial decisions. These articles may provide reference to Internet sites as a convenience to our readers. While PNC endeavors to provide resources that are reputable and safe, we cannot be held responsible for the information, products, or services obtained on such sites and will not be liable for any damages arising from your access to such sites. The content, accuracy, opinions expressed, and links provided by these resources are not investigated, verified, monitored or endorsed by PNC.