How Market Research Should Be Done

Day 4:

Before I start this post, I just want to say thank you for holding me accountable. We’re already on Day 4 of our journey to finding work that matters (online). I want to thank you because I have never worked harder for four or more consecutive days in my life before. Thank you for helping me be consistent. Also, I really feel like I’m so many steps closer to finding my own work.

Yesterday, we talked about translating your inventory of skills to the results you can achieve for your clients with those skills.

But, what results do clients really want? What if you don’t have the experience, the exposure, or the training to know what they want?

Let me share with you what I do: market research.

I graduated with a degree on business administration and accountancy. We did a lot of market research in university for our projects and case studies. It proved to be useful when I was working in the corporate world. But, when I was doing market research to start my own business or project, I realized that I didn’t really know what I was doing.

I stepped out of college knowing a superficial kind of market research. I knew a sophisticated kind of market research that really doesn’t work in real life.

I would know and gather all the data, but when it comes to applying what I learned from the research, everything would collapse on the first contact with a customer.

Why? One reason is because we do market research to back up our recommendations, suggestions, and preconceived solutions. We have biases in doing our research. Another reason is because we do research without really listening to what customers or clients really want. We do market research for ourselves and not really for our clients and customers, who should be the main reason why we study the market in the first place.

The same applies when we’re job hunting. We look for jobs expecting that clients will hire us because of our skills, of the benefits we think we can give them. We look for jobs bringing with us what we know and what we think we can contribute without really stopping and listening to what customers or clients—or our market—really want.

Doing market research should not be about us. It should be about the market. It should be about them.

I’m the master of unsophistication. On Day 2, I shared with you how to prepare a highly unsophisticated inventory of skills. Today, I’m going to share with an unsophisticated way of doing market research.

Carlo’s Unsophisticated Style of Market Research

My style of market research is very simple. But, it’s focused on achieving one thing: results. (That word again.)

Also, I have a very simple definition of market research: listening to the market.

So, how exactly should we do market research when job hunting? Let me share with you two simple steps:

  1. Go to the market. After all, you’re doing market research. If you’re looking for work online, you should go to where the clients and customers are. You can go to Upwork or Freelancer. I’ll be looking for work on these sites as well in the coming days. Being a blogger, I’ll also look for work on the ProBlogger job board.
  2. Read the job description. This is where the magic—the real listening—happens. The job description usually includes what the client is looking for in a candidate (the qualification), the roles, and the responsibilities the job entails. This is where you listen to what the client really wants. This is where you hear the client speak in his language. This is where the client shares the results he wants to achieve for his business by hiring you.

That’s it! Aren’t they simple?

The job description is where you should pattern the translation of your inventory of skills. You should write your translation or the results you want them to achieve by hiring you in their language. You can simply copy what they have written in their job descriptions and rephrase them. After all, it is they who know what they want, not you.

That’s how you do market research. You simply listen to (and copy) what they want or need.

It’s your turn.

If you already know what your customers or clients want, good for you. You can now translate your inventory of skills in their language. But, if you have no idea on what they want, go to the market (Upwork, Freelancer, or ProBlogger Job Board) and read different job descriptions. Little by little, you will begin to notice similarities and patterns of what customers and clients want.

If you’re not looking for work on the internet, read the job descriptions of the position you are applying for. Or if you have a business, ask your customers or clients about what they really want. (Sometimes, they don’t really know what they want. But, that’s for another blog post.)

Tomorrow, let’s try to put these translations together into our online resume or portfolio.