Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tips On Doing A Basic Market Analysis

I promise this is the last day I talk about my adventures in market research. I'm going to share with you the little I know so that you won't have to start from scratch. Another business idea for you- doing market analysis with folks in a one week course using simple fill in the blank work sheets, strong coffee and doughnuts. For the folks not interested, I'll give you two beautiful resources and send you on your way! Google alerts- tag yourself or any subject and you'll receive an email update the moment (literally) anything relevant appears on the Internet. http://www.google.com/alerts it's easy to use, I'm not sure if you need a gmail account though... Tad Hargrave, Marketing For Hippies, http://www.tadhargrave.com/, told us about this amazing resource called the Repetitive Strain Injury Guard. It's very cool with a free 45 day trial. It's like having a very kind but stern Massage Therapist monitoring your work day and keeping your spine and wrists all happy and fluid. Great for those of us attached to our computers 10+ hours per day. http://www.rsiguard.com/ I like the stretch version. You're going to have to research stats. Embrace that fact now! Look at Stats Canada, call 1-800-O-Canada, research online and visit the Metro Reference Library. Become an expert! I have pieced together a simple resource- sent to me from Enterprise Toronto http://www.enterprisetoronto.com/ through the Marketing for Hippies Handbook and found searching online as well as interpreting on my own. 1) Determine your Community Profile
  • The physical community-(location, location)
  • Where in the gentrification process is your hood? How has it changed in the last 2,5 and 10 years. If it's up and coming how long can you wait for the folks to come, for the area to improve?
  • Demographics of the community, you can use Statistics Canada for this. Also surrounding communities.
  • Presence of the industry that you are starting in the neighbourhood
  • Need/wants in the community
I also consider area B.I.A's (Business Associations) crucial.

2)Customer Profile

This could be derived by talking to area businesses asking about clients and speaking with those in similar industries about who is buying and who isn't. This could also help you establish your niche market if you could figure who isn't buying and why.

  • Who is already buying or using similar services.

As an artist I think Customer profile is essential in marketing, store design and layout, products and your online presence.

3)Market Estimation- I simply took a walk in the the area I wanted to have my biz in, counted empty store fronts and asked surrounding store owners what type of industries where in those spots. Turns out the area I was looking in had three galleries close in the last year.... hmm that's something to seriously consider! Why did they close? Also I looked at articles online about the economy and how my industry was being hit. I also looked at non profits and businesses that are excelling during the economic downturn and tried to figure out why they are succeeding.

I turned to industry hard hitters like Richard Florida for his work on why culture has value. Research through your industry associations will also help this- I looked to research done by Toronto, Ontario and the Canadian Arts Councils.

4)Market Segmentation- I looked at all the categories that art and community rental spaces fall into.

Art was varied from performance to more traditionally saleable fine art, specifically painting and photography. I also looked at the different types of galleries from high end to affordable. The AGO to Artist Run. What presence did/does the Internet played in it all.

For rental spaces, I looked at different rental options in the city based on location, accessibility and resources in the space IE. chairs, a kitchen area, windows etc. A great website http://www.businessplans.org/Segment.html has wonderful worksheets on segment analysis. Check it out! 5)Competition Analysis- I want to think of this of this as a community needs assessment not business against business. Also consider partnerships in this area!
  • What are others in similar industries doing?
  • What are the pet peeves of those in the industry? Of customers, of the workers, of the providers?
  • What is missing, what could be changed, improved?
  • Who is succeeding and why? Also who isn't succeeding and why not?
Industry parties and blogs are great for this. I learned long ago never gossip and never dish, but be damn sure to listen when others are because it has the potential to be valuable inside information.

6) Location- Personally I think this is incorporated into many of the previous categories. Research rental rates online, call when you see a for rent sign, make friends with a great Real estate agent. I have one if you need his info! Make a dream list of what you what in your space then adjust for price, size and location.

Also look for events in the community that support or incorporate your industry.

This is my, more art school then business school (which is none) interpretation of this new, to me, process. If you have any great suggestions, resources,experience or know-how please feel free to share, correct or inform me!

Happy Analyzing!!! Michelle

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