What is Market Research?

What is Market Research?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Collect Information with one or more of the following Research Methods:
    1. Literature searches: review all relevant and accessible reading material.
      1. Use search engines to find e-books and articles related to your industry and product. Here is an excellent article by Sue Lewis that will show you how to research for your industry.
      2. Visit your competitor’s sites to see how they are marketing their products using benefits and features.
      3. Participate in discussion lists or online chats that center around your industry and/or your product.
      4. Subscribe to newsletters that discuss your industry.
      5. Read newspapers for current information.
      6. 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.
  3. 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 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.
  4. 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.