In the early 17th Century, the philosopher Francis Bacon wrote:
If a man will begin with certainties, he will end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he will end in certainties.
Too often the pressures of time stop businesses from better understanding the marketplace they are in, often with disastrous consequences later on. A small investment upfront to find out about potential threats and opportunities always helps the business in the long run.
Whilst there is a vast amount of information freely available on the internet, the best market intelligence actually comes from speaking to your customers and contacts. Often their thoughts and insights provide a useful start for further desk based research which ideally you can follow up with contacts to further refine and clarify the best opportunities.
Keyword research is specific to the terms used by prospects to search for your products and phrases using the internet. It can be viewed as both qualitative and quantitive.
Qualitatively, in more specialised areas, it is important to be fully aware of industry jargon as this will determine web users who are more sophisticated and better aware of exactly what they are looking for.
Knowledge of these terms can select a knowledgeable prospect ready to buy from a less focussed seeker of information.
Quantitively, it is now possible to get relatively accurate estimates of the likely number of searches for specific phrases. When targetted phrases are combined with your website and social media sales process you can tip the balance in your favour by putting in effort to attract the greatest number of the right people to your offers.
This will not happen by research alone and typically requires regular reviews and split testing to get optimal results.