We just talked about How To Get To Know Your Market Through Research, so now let’s go over some of the actual methods of market research that you can use.
These are not the only methods out there, but they are all of the major ones, and 99.9% of businesses use one of these methods to conduct research.
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Personal Market Research
This is often done by small businesses that do not have a huge budget for doing telephone surveys or hiring a big market research firm.
Personal market research means that you spend time personally trying to find out more about your market.
You can do this in a number of ways.
First, you can simply talk to people that you know and maybe ask them to get opinions from people that they know.
You can also use the internet.
The internet is an incredible resource for just about any type of information you are seeking and market research is no exception.
Internet polls can give you nearly as much information as conducting a telephone survey might, and in many cases, polls are free.
You can also visit forums within your industry and find out what people are saying, and try to find out the information you need by posting on those forums.
Interviews for Market Research
One of the ways that this is often done is by hiring a group to go door-to-door in an area where you think that those in your market might live.
However, you can also do informal interviews with your current customers and you can even poll your own employees and get their opinions.
The benefit of doing personal interviews is that people have a lot more freedom to speak their mind than they would on an internet poll or a predesigned telephone survey.
They can tell you things that you might not have thought to ask.
Since it is a personal interview, they often feel a lot more comfortable talking about their needs and expressing opinions, especially if your interviewer is good at their job.
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Focus Groups for Market Research
A focus group is a small group of people, no larger than ten, who are getting paid to give their opinions about a specific product or service.
They are easy to set up and they can give you a great deal of valuable information because the people involved can give you their opinions firsthand.
Focus groups definitely have the advantage over personal interviews.
They are able to be completed in about the same time as an interview, but you get the opinions of several people at once, which can give you a much clearer picture.
In addition, you usually save money by doing a focus group instead of an individual interview.
Focus groups are not without their disadvantages as well.
For example, when you have several people in a group, some of them may not feel comfortable expressing their opinion if it is contrary to what everyone else in the group has expressed.
You have to make sure you find the right people that are going to give you real opinions.
Competition-Based Market Research
If you are new in business, then your competition has the advantage over you.
If you can take advantage of their knowledge and use it to improve your own marketing efforts, you will be able to turn the tables.
Of course, you’re probably wondering how you can get this information since it isn’t likely that your competitors are just going to hand over their
own market research.
You don’t have to talk to competitors directly to find out what strategies they are using and what research their strategies are based upon.
All you have to do is look at those strategies carefully.
The way that your competitors market their products or services will tell you a great deal about the market in general.
Telephone Surveys for Market Research
Finally, we’ll be discussing telephone surveys.
Telephone surveys used to be one of the most popular ways to do market research.
Now with the Do Not Call List and everyone carrying mobile phones instead of a landline that is listed in a directory, they have become less effective.
However, they are still employed by many organizations for lots of different purposes, including political polling, market research, and more.
Telephone surveys do cost money, and you usually have to hire a firm to do the surveying for you.
But, if you come up with the right questions, it can be an extremely effective way of doing market research.
Internet Market Research
Using the internet for market research has sort of replace telephone surveys as the new norm.
This is different than the methods discussed in the section under personal market research.
Using the internet can be pretty involved.
There are companies out there that have experience in researching markets using advertising, internet polling, email campaigns, and a huge number of other methods.
It can be more effective than some other methods like focus groups or telephone surveys because many people feel more comfortable expressing their options through writing rather than verbally.
The bottom line is that you have to do market research if you want to survive in today’s business world.
Guessing about the market is not enough.
If you are investing money into a business that provides a particular product or service.
It only makes sense that you should research beforehand if there is even a need for that product or service.
You can choose whichever method you want, depending upon your budget and your particular needs.
Market research should be conducted regularly and you should analyze the use of the information gathered to base your business decisions on.
You will be much better off for it than someone who simply plunges forward without any idea of how the market will respond.
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