Our Services - Marketing Research
Market research is a valuable tool when developing business plans, loan applications, advertising plans, and is a basic indicator of a successful small business. What is market research? Market research is simply an orderly, systematic method of objectively learning about your business' customers. The same principles of marketing research will apply to any business, be it retail, wholesale, manufacturing, service or construction. (Business $ense) For an existing business, market research defines the problem of slaes decline. Gathering information, putting it together in a useful form that is appropriate to the needs of the business and applying the data to the marketing plan will better the chances of success. For new business start-ups, market research is an intregal part of the initial business plan as it pinpoints the target market.
METHODS OF MARKET RESEARCH
- Review Records and Files: Before going to any great lengths outside of your own business, be sure to review your own records. Check on your customers frequency, their addresses, and any comments offered by them to your employees. Cross check your advertising targets to see if you are effectively reaching your customers. Seek out your employees for feedback as they are closest to your customers.
- Conduct Secondary Research: Once you have studied the internal sources, the next place to do research is through surveys, books, magazines, and trade associations. The library is a great source for magazines, books, and data from surveys put out by trade associations. Also direct contact with trade associations can be productive.
- Conduct Primary Research: This is the least costly but the most time consuming. It requires that the business owner observe and gather data him/herself, finding out all they can about their customers, and their competitors customers, by simply observing them. What is learned is then applied to direct advertising. Surveys are another primary form of research. By directly approaching the customer, either through face-to-face, home interviews, through the mail or over the telephone, the owner learns a great deal about his/her customers. The most costly method of primary reserach would entail hiring a professional to work with a focus group to gather information.
Whatever method is used, it is important to remember that a business owner or prospective owner should proceed with caution. Market research is a valuable tool but it cannot predict the future. With accurate data it can, however, provide direction for advertising and purchasing inventory. Refer to Business $ense for further information regarding market research. Also contact Wayne NBDC for assistance with market research conducted on a personal, confidential basis.