What Business Owners Need to Know About Market Research Planning

imageToday businesses are looking to get ahead.  Innovation is a part of most entrepreneurs personalities… they love to think, solve problems and invent more efficient means to arriving at solutions.  To be successful you have to know your market and develop a plan in order to accomplish your goals.  Market research can help you get there and planning for it is an essential part of the process.

Market Research “is the planning for, collection, and analysis of data relevant to marketing decision making and the communication of the results of this analysis to management.” In order to measure the success of the marketing plan of any kind, market research is the appropriate tool for a company to use. By having a thorough knowledge of factors that have an impact on the target market and the marketing mix, management can be proactive rather than reactive. Research is the difference between viewing the turbulent marketing environment as a threat or as an opportunity.

Before undertaking a business venture, it is important for a business owner to conduct market research to guide them to better business decisions that will later be translated into profits and good business. Even if you already have an existing business and you want to do some changes, market research can be very useful and a must in a lot of cases. Good market research is important to identify the demands of your target market and learn their behavior, including their purchasing behavior.

By learning some market research tips, tools as well as techniques, you will have the tools to develop your own market research plan.  You’ll have the confidence to follow through with your plan and you’ll get the end results that will set you apart from your competitors.

Here are a few ideas…

  • Write down the objectives of your research.  Know what you want to accomplish. Of course, goal-setting is very important in any endeavor as this will guide you throughout the course of your research and in studying the behavior of your target clients. Although you may have one big goal in doing a particular study, it is also important to write down specific details as well.
  • Determine the right sample size of your research and make sure it is representative of your target market population. Of course, in any research, getting the correct sample size is one of the crucial parts or else you will not get an accurate data and results for your research.
  • Always emphasize that confidentiality is a priority in your research. Of course, many people are hesitant to share their thoughts and views on something. By assuring them that their answers will be regarded with confidentiality, you can even find it a key to get honest answers from people and maintaining confidentiality is also ethical.
  • Make sure your survey questionnaires are concise and direct to the point. This is where a trusted market research consultancy firm always comes in handy.  A highly respected consultancy firm will take care of the dirty work and work with their select group of panels to devise a questionnaire that will result in the sample needed to achieve the clients’ goals.   You don’t have to have a five page survey for your samples. It is important that you know how to draft your questions that can also help you get the answers that you want without having to list a hundred questions and bore your respondent. In the end, you may have a tired respondent who will give lesser replies or lesser quality of replies as well, which can greatly affect your results. Thus, keep this as one of the most important market research tips that you have to remember.
  • Choose research tools and techniques that will not only make everything convenient but also help you analyze your results fast and accurate. Online surveys can do just that.  Once again, by working with a trusted market research consultancy, you’ll receive your sample in a timely manner and without the headache that comes with doing all the work yourself.  They can recommend what type of research is most appropriate, help you develop statistically valid samples and provide you with an objective and neutral source of information.   Keep in mind that your research results can help you outsmart competitors but if you are doing research that takes time to finish, you may end up being outwitted by your competitors and your research results may become a waste.

Research has always been thought of as expensive and there’s a perception that only multi-national size companies have the budgets for it.  It’s not the case anymore.  Today research can be done for just a couple thousand dollars and that thousand dollars can be the best money you’ve ever spent.  For $2,500 to $5,000 you can have programming, hosting and receive insight back on your product or concept within a reasonable amount of time.

Whatever your approach to evaluating your idea, make sure you’re meeting the research objectives you’ve outlined for your product or service. With those goals always top-of-mind, your analysis will help you discover whether your idea has any holes that need patching.

About the Author: Michael G. Holmes is President of EMI – Online Research Solutions in Cincinnati, Ohio.  EMI is aleading provider of online research offering sample, programming, hosting, panel building, and related services.

For more information on EMI please visit www.emi-ors.com