How to do Market Research

How to do Market Research

Subject Line: How to do Market Research

The Write Market Release
Vol 2. Issue 10
How to do Market Research


1. Editor’s Remarks
2. How to Write a Marketing Plan – Part II
a) What is Market Research?
b) How to Design a Survey
c) Tips on Web Survey Design
3. What’s New at The Write Market
4. Get Your Ad in TWM’s Release!
5. Administrative Information


Welcome Everyone!

We’re going to make a few slight changes to the links you will find throughout the newsletter.

Our list host program tells us that 11% of the people subscribed to this newsletter are AOL users, so we thought we’d make it a little easier on them by providing an AOL link as well as the regular links we’ve always included. Any feedback from AOL people would be helpful (are the links working correctly, etc.)

Also, we want to be able to track our ads. We’ve found a neat little program called LinkCounter:

It’s free! So we’ll be tracking our links using their program.

For the rest of our tutorial, “How to Write a Marketing Plan” we are going to provide a real-life example as we continue developing a marketing plan for our book, “My Promotion Journal: Search Engines and Directories.”

For a limited time, if you fill out our survey, we’re offering our e-booklet for $1 off the regular price: (This is your big chance to learn everything you need to know about the basics of Search Engine Optimization for under $6!)

(above link is an example of the link counter tracking links.)

Next month stay tuned for the third part of our tutorial: target market and unique selling proposition.

Write on,
Renee Kennedy

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Market research is discovering what people want, need, or believe. It can also involve discovering how they act. Once that research is complete you can use it to determine how to market your specific product.

Here is the process:

A. Establish and Write Your Goals. What do you want to know? What do you want to find out? Goals might involve demographic information about your target market, the brands that your target market currently use, their perceptions of a particular product. Try to be specific when you write your goals, it will make your data collection easier.

B. Collect Information with one or more of the following Research Methods –

1. Literature searches: review all relevant and accessible reading material.

a) Use search engines to find e-books and articles related to your industry and product. Here is an excellent article that will show you how to research for your industry: Visit your competitor’s sites to see how they are marketing their products using benefits and features.

c) Participate in discussion lists or online chats that center around your industry and/or your product.
d) Subscribe to newsletters that discuss your industry.
e) Read newspapers for current information.
f) Read books for past information and to get a feel for trends.

2. Survey/Interview – the survey is probably the quickest and cheapest method of research. It is ideal for small business. There are many ways to conduct a survey and the next article will discuss survey design and gathering techniques.

3. Observation – watching people without interacting with them. Observation is monitoring people’s habits without intrusive methods. One application of this type of research would be the bar code scanners at grocery stores. However, this model is probably not as readily available to the small business as the survey.

4. Experiment: generally the experiment must be restricted to a laboratory because the researcher will need to manipulate one variable at a time. The only way this can be done with success is in a controlled environment. However, we will be conducting “marketing experiments.” We may try one method and change one variable at a time to see if it will improve our sales. More on this will be forthcoming as we try out various marketing strategies.

C. Organize and Analyze Your Information In any type of research situation, you want to have a methodical process to collect and store information. When you have chosen your research method, implemented your research, and stored the information in an organized way, you will see how you can use that information.

If you’re doing a survey, or any type of “experiment” you may want a statistic’s calculator. Here is a link to a very good, free calculator. It also explains statistical analysis with an excellent tutorial on market research and survey design.

Here’s another free calculator that you don’t have to download:

If you know nothing about statistics and If you don’t have the time to figure out statistics (and it might take you a solid couple of weeks to figure it out) and If you don’t have the money to pay someone to do your statistical analysis, Then we recommend that you use a “qualitative research methodology” (qualitative means that you aren’t going to reduce your findings to numbers). In other words, you can still do market research and learn important information about your target without statistical analysis. For small business people, with more limited resources, using a qualitative survey is the most efficient tool to learn about target markets.

D. Make Conclusions Write down the following:

1. Your goals – what you wanted to find out about your market.
2. The method that you used to find answers to your questions. Why you chose that method.
3. The conclusions that you came up with after you did your market research.
4. How these conclusions will influence the way you will promote your product.


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The survey can be a powerful tool to figure out what your market needs and how you can market to them. Just the process of developing a survey will help you learn more about your target market.

1. First establish the goals of your survey. What are you trying to find out? Be very specific. Write them down.

Here are a few of the goals for our survey:

a. How do people find our product web page?
b. Do these people own their own business?
c. Do they work for a small business or a large company?
d. What is the level of their Search Engine Optimization knowledge?
e. Where do these people hang out on the Internet?
f. Why don’t they buy our product today?

2. Who will you ask? Who will be your sample?

We are going to ask the following people to fill out our survey:
a. People that come to our home page
b. People that come to our product page
c. People that read our newsletter
d. We are also using ads in various e-zines to get the word out about our survey.

3. What method of surveying will you use? Here are some choices from most expensive to least expensive:
a. Personal Interview – face-to-face interviewing – sometimes conducted in a mall or on the street.
b. Telephone – probably one of the most popular methods.
c. Mail – inexpensive, also there is no interference by an interviewer, so there is less bias.
d. Web based – only use if your target population would be online.

We are going to use a web based survey, because most of the selling of our book will occur online. Also, the only people that would be interested in our book would be people online.

4. Plan your research carefully, once you know who you’re surveying and the type of method you will use:
a. Develop a time line – how long it will take from designing the survey to analyzing the data.
b. Do a cost estimate. You might break down cost by each step involved.

Our survey will costs us nothing but our own time.
Jan 1 – Jan 20: write survey
Jan 20 – Jan 30: run a pretest
Jan 31: rewrite what needs rewriting
Feb 1 to Feb 18: implement survey, send out ads in e-zines that will run ads for free, put on web site home page and product page.
Feb 18 – Feb 28: analyze data and incorporate into marketing plan

5. Design the survey. Write the survey based on the method that you have chosen (Number 3 above.)

6. Pretest. Pretesting will help you determine if the survey is easy to understand, if people are able to fill it out, and other problems that may occur. Rewrite the survey if you need to.

We pretested our survey to about 15 people – friends and family, that we were fairly sure would respond. Side Note: we were going to skip the pretest, because it’s a little bit of a pain. DON’T SKIP IT. It actually told us several things that were wrong with our survey.

7. Test. Do the actual survey. Collect the data and put it into an organized format.

Here is our survey – as long as you’re going to check out our survey – please fill it out!

8. Analyze. If you’re using quantifiable information you can analyze with statistics. However, expect to spend some time learning how to do statistics. If you’re statistically challenged, perhaps you want to develop a more qualitative survey. If so, you will analyze using inferences and basic reasoning rather than statistics.

Your goals will dictate your questions and the answers to those questions will help you determine what you will do with your marketing plan and the marketing strategies that you choose to employ.

Next month, we will have the results from our survey and tell you how they’ve influenced our marketing plan.

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The very basics:

1. Have a title.

2. State who you are (you may not want to state your company if you think it will influence the answers).

3. Introduce the purpose of the survey. A few sentences to let your sample know what you’re doing this for.

4. There are three choices of survey types:

i. multiple choice (for results you can easily quantify, use this type.)
“Where do you shop the most often for your prescriptions?
a. Walgreens
b. Rite Aid
c. Shop-N-Save
d. None of the above.
e. Don’t know.”

ii. open numeric – “How many employees do you have?” ______

iii. open text – “What is your occupation?” __________________

5. Keep your survey short and sweet. (This is especially important if you are using the web.)

More Specifics:

1. Use basic vocabulary unless you are positive that your respondents are well-educated. Do not use jargon or language that your sample might not understand.

2. Begin with non-threatening questions. If you plan to use questions of a sensitive nature, save them for the end of the survey. Have a privacy statement if you intend to include sensitive questions.

3. Ask questions that are one-dimensional. Don’t ask, “Do you like the color and the shape?” You could ask separately, “Do you like the color?” in another question, “Do you like the shape?”

4. Answers should leave no room for ambiguity. For instance,
“Where do you live?”
a. apartment
b. house
c. country
d. city
This would be difficult to answer because people might live in both a house and the country.

5. Make sure you have a “not applicable” for each question that may need it, this will eliminate frustration if respondents don’t like any of the choices. Use a “don’t know” option for factual questions.

6. Consider the order of your questions. Transitions from one question to the next should be smooth. Keep questions that have the same topic or that use the same response format together.

7. Try not to branch your questions. That is, try not to make your questions dependent from one to the next.

8. If using a multiple choice questionnaire, consider leaving space after each question for people to make comments. With an online survey, we recommend a text area for comments at the very end. Although, perhaps this information is not quantifiable, you may gain valuable insight from these responses.

9. Provide incentives for a properly completed questionnaire. For instance, offer them a free gift or a reduced price on your product. Make the incentive match the respondents. Also, perhaps try a deadline.

10. Response Rate is a direct indicator of confidence level or the reliability of a study. Doing a survey on the web is going to be hard to measure your response rate.

Real Life Example

Also, check out this article by Dan Grossman on polling your visitors – he gives you some links to survey scripts:


Our Survey!
Fill out our survey and we’ll give you $1.00 off the e-book version of our new book:
My Promotion Journal: Search Engines and Directories

Go to the explanation of the book:

Go directly to the survey:

Our new tutorial will be available at:

Several new articles:


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