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Market Research as Your Roadmap to Success

13 Jan 2016

If you want your marketing strategies to deliver the best results, it pays to employ market research as your roadmap to success.

What kinds of market research tools are available?

There are two main types of market research - primary and secondary.

Primary market research includes analysis of current sales and the overall effectiveness of your marketing. This research also includes studying your competitors. The methodology can include the following:

  • In-depth interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Field tests (experiments)
  • Surveys (face-to-face, online, mobile, etc.)
  • Biometric data collection including eye tracking and emotion response measurements

By asking questions directly, you receive the necessary primary information to plan an effective marketing strategy.

The secondary market research uses existing data to provide a different and broader kind of insight.

Spot the difference: primary and secondary market research

It is important to understand the differences between primary and secondary market research in order to determine which is best for your business. Primary market research may be ideal when you start your business or if your revenues have dramatically decreased. It can allow you to identify specific issues and resolve them. The secondary market research will give you a general picture of your business and of the key trends in the wider industry. Secondary market research is generally done before companies invest in primary market research. Combining the two approaches may be the best option in order to gain a fuller picture of the market.

Budgetary considerations are also a factor. Due to its reliance on direct contact with consumers, primary market research tends to be more expensive.

Quantitative and qualitative market research

Quantitative market research answers the question: "How do people think?" This kind of research will tell you how your customers react to changes you have introduced to your product or service. This could be the right approach for you if you want to know whether to introduce any changes.

This kind of research generally involves structured multiple-choice questionnaires. Some questions require respondents to rank their answers, allowing them to reflect the strength of their opinions.

Since quantitative market research is statistical in essence, more questions mean more insight.

Qualitative market research answers the question: "Why do people do what they do?" This can help you to understand what changes you need to implement in order to change customer behavior or better meet their expectations.

Qualitative market research includes focus groups and in-depth interviews.

A combination of these two methods can produce detailed results, allowing you to understand customer behavior and assess how changes in your marketing strategy will play out.

Market research players: hiring vs. DIY

The market research industry includes freelancers, agencies, consultants and, of course, clients. As a client, you can either hire someone to carry out research for you or use the self-service platform to do it yourself. Some platforms would allow you to combine these two approaches. So you would work on the tasks you can complete yourself and for the tasks, you know little about you would hire freelancers or agencies to help you out.

Avoiding marketing mistakes

Mistakes during the research process can create huge problems later on in the marketing cycle. Strategies based on unreliable or inappropriate research will likely result in huge losses. It is crucial to avoid the following:

  • Relying exclusively on secondary market research

Data may be outdated and will not necessarily give you the insights you require. The modern world is exceptionally dynamic and people change their priorities. A range of factors influences customer needs. Secondary market research is cost effective and it may be a good place to start, but it should not be used in isolation.

  • Asking your friends

Try to be objective. Do not simply ask your friends or family members for their opinions, because they will inevitably tell you they like your goods or services. You need to understand your target audience. Only your customers can give you the insights you require ñ you need to communicate directly with them.

  • Depending on the internet

The internet makes everything easier. You can theoretically open an internet browser and find the information you need. However, this information may well be outdated or inaccurate in a range of other ways.

Market research prices

The first thing you need to understand when you want to conduct market research is that you can choose from a wide range of companies that are ready to help you. These companies will be able to offer expert staff who are ready to provide you with precise results. CoolTool offers both market research experts and survey tools in one place. Free subscription gives you access to the marketplace along with basic survey tools, data collectors, and reporting. For more advanced survey research, you can opt for a USD 299 subscription plan and take advantage of a range of different services including unlimited responses and multiple data collectors. SurveyMonkey also offers free survey tools, as well as paid subscription plans such as Gold (EUR 300 per year) or Platinum (EUR 800 per year). Prices vary along with services, so it is essential to do your own research before making your choice.

Every company must work within limited budgets but it is worth remembering that good business plans - and profitable businesses - depend on good market research. The extra expense of market research can ultimately reduce costs and increase revenues. It is an essential part of any modern business and can mean the difference between success and failure.

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