During the emerging growth stage of the business, entrepreneurs should begin asking questions of customers and target customers and build up market intelligence in these four areas
- Perceptions of product providers, their brands and loyalty to them
- Current relationships with providers and desired ideal relationships
- Product ownership, needs and perceptions of benefits, gaps and opportunities
- Preferred awareness, buying and delivery channels.
These are the areas of research most likely to produce key response bases for proprietary use in gaining a sustainable competitive advantage and powerful market positioning.
Read "Segmenting Markets for Rapid Growth"
1. PERCEPTIONS OF PRODUCT PROVIDERS, THEIR BRANDS AND LOYALTY TO THEM
- Ask what provider brands are known?
- Show different product providers logos.
- What is your opinion of each of these companies?
- What are the first thoughts that come to mind when you see each one?
- What sorts of products do they sell?
- What products could they sell?
- What types of people buy from them?
- How would you group them?
- Who are the key competitors?
- What are their key sales and service activities?
2. CURRENT RELATIONSHIPS WITH PROVIDERS AND DESIRED IDEAL RELATIONSHIPS
- How would you describe your relationship with your current provider?
- Do you think they provide good service?
- What do you expect versus what they deliver?
- What is a good relationship? And a bad one?
- How much contact do you want after purchase?
- Would you want to hear about new products?
3. PRODUCT OWNERSHIP, NEEDS AND PERCEPTIONS OF BENEFITS, GAPS AND OPPORTUNITIES
- Probe ownership of product x type and other category products.
- Probe companies they have had experience of.
- Which product x types have you heard of?
- Probe full list to gauge understanding of products available.
- What product x do you own?
- What was the trigger to purchase?
- What others did you consider?
- What are your main reasons for having a product x?
- Are certain product x more suitable/better than others to meet your objectives?
- What were the main things you were looking for when you bought the product?
- Who did you buy it from?
- How did you go about buying it?
- What influenced you, positively and negatively?
- Have you or anyone you know had any problems with it?
- How does the product category disappoint people?
4. PREFERRED AWARENESS, BUYING AND DELIVERY CHANNELS
- Where would you expect to buy one?
- How would you expect/like to hear first about its availability?
- How much help, information and assistance would you need to buy it?
- Would you buy it direct or through a channel intermediary?