So, you've just come up with a great startup idea. Now, all that's left for you to do is build your company, make it successful, and be the next Silicon Valley star. No problem. Anyone can do that. Certainly in no time, right? But wait! How will you find out if your idea is viable or not? How can you test your project to see if customers like it? How will you know if there's a demand for what you're building? You'll need to conduct marketing research — and you’ll need it again and again. Join Sandra Idjoski and us in this endeavor: understanding Market Research and why it is crucial, especially for startups. She will also lead us through her business, Collabwriting, and how it can bring all your team’s research into one place.
She had spent 4 years of her career working with and in startups before she decided to tackle the challenge of building her own. Her background is in business and marketing, but she’s looking forward to all the new challenges her new role brings.
When I was leading the marketing team at a previous startup I worked at, I faced many challenges when managing multiple tasks, creating content plans, and communicating with designers and content writers.
One of our biggest challenges was keeping track of references and sources when writing articles for our specific industry, which required accurate and up-to-date information. It took time to ensure that our data was correct and that our sources were reliable.
I found that more than existing web highlighters were needed for our team setting, so I turned to my now co-founder and asked if a better way to organize and collaborate more efficiently could be built.
Intuitively, it felt there had to be a more practical way to organize the work that we’ve been doing.
That's when we came up with the idea for Collabwriting, a platform that would help teams streamline their work and avoid the back-and-forth that we had experienced in the past.
Collabwriting allows teams to create highlights, leave notes and share direct information they found useful from any web page, and as of recently, PDFs. We wanted to create a tool to help teams work more seamlessly and effectively without sacrificing accuracy or quality.
Since launching Collabwriting, we have received great feedback from people using our platform. As a result, we are continually updating and improving the product and have big plans for the future of incorporating audio and video content as well.
We aim to help teams of all sizes and industries work more efficiently and effectively, so they can focus on what matters: creating high-quality content and delivering value to their customers.
Marketing research is essential for a company's functioning, especially for startups. When working on a previous startup, online research and reading through different sources helped us refocus our product from being a general project management tool to being aimed at the telecommunications industry.
This was a significant step for our growth. It's not just about marketing or social media strategy but finding where we, as a company, are planning to go.
Conducting research allows us to see if someone has already tried the same thing, identify best practices, or uncover new trends we have yet to be aware of. This insight helps us figure out where we should go next and is beneficial on all organizational levels.
From a content standpoint, research has helped us stand out from the crowd in the previous startup. It got us to the first page of Google for many things without investing a single dollar in optimization tools or any external services. It was simply research and writing based on those unique insights that we got.
In summary, marketing research is crucial in understanding our target audience, competitors, and industry trends. It provides valuable insights that help companies make informed decisions and stay ahead of the curve.
When it comes to ensuring the reliability and correctness of our research sources, I always make it a point to try to find the original source of the data. For example, I've come across many blogs that quote statistics, but when I dig deeper, I can’t really get to the original research source. This is a red flag because it suggests that the numbers might not be relevant or factual.
When looking at numbers and statistics, seeing how big the sample size was and the methodology used is important. Anyone doing repeatable research is likely to disclose that information; if we can't find it, it's usually a bit of a red flag.
Another thing I look into is how a company that’s the source presents itself on different channels. They might have a blog full of information, but if there are no people from the industry engaging with them or if there are industry experts who blatantly disagree with them, I usually take the insights they’re sharing with a grain of salt.
One of my favorite places to look for information, however, is Google Scholar. Some of the best information and most interesting insights I found for the content came from papers written in the past couple of years on topics like hybrid project management or new project management research.
I also suggest using alternative ways of research, such as relevant industry books or even just looking at overviews and comments. Even comments from people sharing what they found useful can provide excellent insights to incorporate into our content.
When it comes to conducting marketing research, the first and most crucial step is setting the goal. We need to determine what we want to achieve with our research - for example, is this an ongoing research project where we want to collect and keep data up to date constantly? Or do we have a specific time to launch a new product, and we need to know who our competitors are? Once we have established our goals, we can move on to the next step.
The next step is to assess our internal resources and determine what external resources we need to find. For example, if we're researching competitors or how the market will change, we might already have some insights from our own user base. However, if we still need more information, we can go externally and see what sources we need to cover.
After sourcing the necessary data, the next step is to organize it cohesively. This can be done using a Google Docs document, Notion, or another tool that allows us to create an overview of the information and link it all together with sources.
At Collabwriting, we specialize in this aspect of marketing research. First, we provide a platform that allows you to collect information from online sources (web pages, online PDFs), and soon we will allow users to upload their own PDFs for analysis. Then, we help you gather the critical information, sort it in a searchable format, and make it easy to communicate and share with your team.
With Collabwriting, you can research your entire topic, share one link with your team, and find the most relevant information. This makes collaboration easy and efficient, saving you time and resources.
Marketing research using Collabwriting
It depends on the activities. For instance, in the case of competitor research, it can be essential to identify their unique selling points and positive or negative aspects. Doing so allows us to develop action points and plans for our own business.
This can involve creating comparison posts on our blog, communicating with clients who use similar software to understand us, and identifying areas of improvement.
Overall, the research goal is not to produce a mere document but to generate valuable insights that can be acted upon to improve business operations.
For business beginners who are just starting to explore their market, it's essential to talk to people and stay vary of confirmation bias.
Be open to feedback, but also be critical of the feedback you receive. You should look for constructive insights that can help you improve your product rather than just positive feedback that doesn't offer any value. As founders, we can sometimes be biased and think our product is fantastic, but it's essential to step back and listen to views that can help us see the flaws and make necessary improvements.
In terms of using marketing research to your advantage, it's crucial to research your industry and understand its growth potential and any emerging trends. You should also look at competitors and see how they communicate with their audience and what key problems they're solving. This can help you identify gaps in the market and differentiate yourself from them. Additionally, market research can help you understand your target audience and their needs, preferences, and pain points. This information can be used to tailor your messaging and product features to meet their needs better.
I also recommend reading the book "Mom's Test" to learn how to collect the best feedback and filter out the fluff. Focusing on relevant feedback and understanding what can genuinely benefit your product is essential.
Overall, for business beginners, talking to people and conducting thorough marketing research can help you make informed decisions, avoid costly mistakes, and ultimately increase your chances of success.