When you properly conduct market research, you get the full picture of the services or products
that could result in profits. You want to know what is available so that you can see if people are
happy with what is out there. This gives you the chance to get opinions and work to build better
and stronger products or services. For example, you may find a specific product that sells well,
but maybe there is one thing about the product that customers are not happy with. Take this
information and create a product that addresses the customer complaint to make it better.
Conducting Primary Research
This type of market research allows you to learn about current practice effectiveness and the overall sales of the products and services you are looking to enhance. This is a very direct form of research where you want to reach out to customers and learn exactly what they are thinking and saying about specific things. Common research methods include:
- Face-to-face or telephone interviews
- Snail mail or online surveys
- Small focus groups for direct and immediate feedback
- Snail mail or online questionnaires
Keep all of these research techniques simple and to the point. For example, a survey should never be more than 10 questions in length because people will lose focus on lengthy and complex surveys. You also want every method to have a free space where the customer can insert his or own comments in addition to what you are asking for.
Conducting Secondary Research
This type of research involves looking at published data and analyzing it. This is where you establish benchmarks, identify your competitors and identify target segments. Determine your current audience and use the target segment data to appropriately craft marketing and advertising campaigns to market your product. For example, you want to narrow down things, such as lifestyle, age, gender and buying patterns for those in your target audience.
You must use both qualitative and quantitative data to accurately get the information you need. Quantitative methods require you to use a very large sample size and you must use mathematical analysis. Website analytics is a good place to start to find this information and you should look at things like how long visitors stay on your site, where leads are coming from and which page they exit from.
Qualitative data is best to perfect your quantitative methods. This is where you define problems and use your primary research information to tie it all together. You only need a small sample size to properly conduct the research and get information that applies to a broad audience.
Market research is an ongoing process and should be done regularly so that you are always up-to-date on the latest happenings in your industry. The size of your company and your overall goals determine how involved your market research needs to be. For example, large companies with multiple products and services need to do far more research than a small company with less than five offerings.