Marketing Research: how to carry on a good one?

Marketing research can give a clear vision around new products and services that could be of interest for your business. Even if you sell well established products, a marketing research can provide the necessary insights to understand if your company is meeting all the clients’ requirements and expectations. As an example, a marketing research could tell if it’s time to change the package design or the delivery methods, or even if you should consider introducing services.

A good marketing research plan can tell you who your clients are, and also how likely they are to buy your goods or use your services.

When you set up a marketing research, you can use the results to create a business or marketing plan aiming at evaluating your current plan. For this reason it’s important to make the right questions, in the right way, to the right people. A marketing research done the wrong way can lead to a business going in the wrong direction.

So here we offer some basic concepts around marketing research that can help you avoiding some common mistakes.

Marketing Research Types

Primary Research

The goal of the primary marketing research is to collect data over the analysis of current sales and measure the efficiency of the current practices. The primary marketing research includes plans of competitors.

Data collection for the primary marketing research includes:

  • Interviews (telephone or in person)
  • Surveys (online or by mail)
  • Forms (online or by mail)
  • Focus Groups that represent a sample of real or potential clients

Some important questions could be:

  • Which elements you take in account when buying this product or service?
  • What you like or don’t like about products or services currently available on market?
  • What price you think is fair for products or services we offer?
  • Which areas are leaving room for improvements?

Secondary Research

Analysis of data already published is the goal of the secondary marketing research. With secondary data, you can identify competitors, establish points of reference and identify customer segments. These comprise people included in your demographic target – people that have a particular lifestyle, show specific habits, or fall in a given age group.

Data collection

marketing research

No company can be successful without a clear understanding of its clients, its products and services, and market in general. Competition can be sometimes fierce. On top of that, carrying on without a marketing research could give your competitors a lead on your business.

There are two different kinds of data collection:

  1. Quantitative methods use mathematical analysis and require a big sample size. Results from this data shed light on relevant statistical differences. A mean for putting together quantitative results for a website are web analytics tools (e.g. the ones that Google makes available). This information can help to determine where potential clients are coming from, how long they spend on your web page and which pages they are leaving.
  2. Qualitative methods help in developing and refining research’s quantitative methods. They can help business owners to identify problems. They go together with interview techniques to collect information on clients’ opinions, values and beliefs. In the qualitative marketing research the sample size tends to be small

Mistakes to avoid in marketing research

Many times shortcuts can allure entrepreneurs eager to save money, but later they reveal to be counterproductive. Here we flag three errors to avoid:

  1. Use only secondary research. Relying only on works published by others can not give a complete view. It can be a starting point, but information obtained from secondary research could be obsolete. It could omit some other factors that are relevant to your business.
  2. Use only web resources. When using common search engines to collect data, you can reach only data accessible by anyone and that may be not entirely correct. In order to perform more focused researches without exceeding the budget, you can use resources in local libraries, university campus o startup accelerators.
  3. Analysing only well known people. Startup and medium sized business owners sometimes interview only family members and friends when they perform marketing researches, but this is not likely to be the right audience for marketing researches. In order to obtain more useful and precise information, it’s important to discuss with real clients over needs, wishes and expectations

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