Mistakes and myths of market research in South Africa

by | May 23, 2023 | Market Research

Gear up with data before you leap

Imagine for a moment that you are a spy. You have your night vision goggles, communication watch and, of course, a red ejection button in your car. Everything is ready for your infiltration mission. The only problem is: You don’t have any information on your target. So you’re all geared up, with nowhere to go.

The same scenario applies when starting a business without market research. You have the product, managerial skills and gadgets, but you don’t know who you’re targeting – or why they’re being targeted.

For example, let’s say you get the target location but still don’t know who it is, what they look like or why you’re spying on them. After spending enough time on this wild goose chase, you may figure out who you’re after, but the job will take twice as long.

Once you know who you’re targeting, why and when, the rest falls into place.

Back to our scenario: You have some basic info, your goggles, a smartwatch and the red button ready. But before setting off, you need a briefing on what not to do.


What not to do during market research

  1. No intel on the mission
You can’t ask questions without knowing why you’re asking them. In other words, don’t just gather data for the sake of research and expect to gain insight. Only when you have a basis to work from can you ask the questions and record the answers.

  1. Asking difficult questions
It’s already generous of people to answer your questions, so don’t overdo it. You’ll just get “How should I know?” responses. Complex questions can be off-putting and frustrating for participants, so try short, clear questions that are easy to answer.

  1. Forgetting the objective
Having money left over in your budget doesn’t necessitate conducting research for the sake of research. Before splurging, ask yourself, “What information do I need that I don’t already have?”

  1. Trusting every source
If you’re going the Google route, be warned. You’ll need to check that the stats you base your research on are legitimate and relevant. If they’re ten years old or have dodgy credibility, don’t use ‘em. And watch out for generative AI “sources”.

  1. Mixing business and family
Family and friends don’t count as a focus group. Sure, they want to support your new business, but what’s the point of market research if you’re using biased data?


Busting myth landmines

  • Market research is not just for startups; it’s a vital step in business development, product testing and rebranding.
  • Market research is not the same as online research. Professionals use tools and methods that mere mortals cannot access.
  • You don’t have to drain your savings. Many market research experts can design a strategy according to your budget.
  • Qualitative or quantitative research may not be enough. Both statistics and feedback may be crucial to analysing your target audience.
  • A quick survey seldom does much good. Although it’s a primary research method, it doesn’t give behavioural data to understand changing needs.


Investing in the right target

Gaining intel is a critical part of launching a new business, product or brand strategy, and the last thing you want is to go into it blindly. So, whatever market research route you go with, remember to:
  • Look at the data from a customer’s perspective
  • Mix and match market research tools
  • Analyse consumer behaviour and changing needs
  • Make surveys as easy and user-friendly as possible
And if you get stuck, we identify target audiences all day. Chat with InteractRDT’s intel pros.

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