For a business that needs to gain a general view from a large cross-section of the population, and in as short a time as possible, there is no doubt that online research offers a viable benefit. This affordable way to test one’s target market is ideal for existing firms and new business start-ups and can play a vital role in obtaining financial support for your company.
Do It Yourself or with an agency?
The DIY method will allow you to carry out quantitative online market research (surveys) for little cost. It is definitely a method to consider when it comes to researching one’s market but it is also important to know how it differs from agency solutions. Here are some differences:
Moreover, with DIY surveys, the client puts the questions directly to the respondent so it compromises the objectivity of questioning and the impartiality of interpretation:
In addition, the agency will give you its expert opinion on the order and the formulation of the questions:
See the Marketing Donut resources on Market research
The current economic climate is having an impact on businesses large and small. Many are suffering while others are discovering new opportunities. In fact, some people who have recently lost their job, be it through redundancy or otherwise, are thinking about launching their own business. What is clear is that the uncertainty in the economy means that researching a business’ market has never been more important.
Market research is an important tool for any person who wants to launch a business and for small firms looking to grow their business by launching new products or services. Market research involves scientifically-led studies to collect necessary market information, enabling entrepreneurs to make the right commercial decisions.
It’s an essential stage in the business start-up process but many entrepreneurs don’t do it – not least because of the supposed cost. Market research determines the feasibility of a project and it’s a way to adapt a business’ strategy (communication, pricing policy, products range…)
What it is...
It’s important to carry out market research in order to:
confirm an idea
make a project credible
professionalize the setting-up approach
convince financial partners and others
Online research has revolutionised market research, providing both opportunities and challenges to researchers and research users. Online market research has grown rapidly in recent years as a key form of data collection for primary research activities.
What it offers...
Online market research offers both large and small research focussed organisations the chance to eliminate the costs involved with face-to-face, postal and telephone data collection.
There are a number of benefits to commissioning online research, including:
Easier targeting of respondents across numerous segmentation variables provides access to a precise and qualitative panel which ensures the collation of reliable data on sensitive issues.
Multi-country projects no longer need to be an obstacle to research – worldwide research can be conducted at the click of a button.
An inexpensive way to conduct large research projects - it is possible to get hundreds of responses for less than a thousand pound.
Most large research suppliers have access panels which provide an easily accessible, reliable respondent base which can respond promptly to online questionnaires.
It allows for a very rapid turnaround – research can be undertaken and results received within a few days as opposed to several weeks involved with face-to-face and postal data collection methods.
The use of video, images and audio for richer questionnaire environments will return a greater quality data.
For a business which needs to gain a general view from a large cross-section of the population, and in as short a time as possible, there is no doubt that online research offers a viable benefit.
Starting a business? Launching a new product or service? Test the market first!
Market research — the name alone brings moans and groans from customers and businesses alike. Somewhere deep down, we know that it’s worthwhile filling in those seemingly endless surveys to end up with a better, brighter, tastier product or service.
Market research plays a vital part in any business as it gives you insight into your market, your competitors, your products, your marketing and your customers. This way you can make informed decisions, such as which chocolate Easter eggs to stock. And believe me, this is hugely important.
Market research helps you to reduce risks by getting product, price and promotion right from the outset. It also helps you focus your resources where they will be most effective. Much information is available online and from industry organisations, and some of it is free. This information provides data on market size, sales trends, customer profiles and competitors. Your customer records also provide a wealth of information, such as purchasing trends.
So that’s the theory. With our experts like Kate Willis of KW Research and Steve Phillips of Spring Research Ltd offering their hands-on advice and tips, you can turn the theory into good business practice.
To make sure you know how to plan your market research so that you can find out which chocolate your customers prefer, check the Marketing Donut website — it goes live on 20 April.
Small firms need to do their research, now more than ever.
I know many businesses will be tempted to cut their marketing budget this year. But the way to survive a recession is to be smarter than your competitors, not more out of touch. And that means you must make market research a priority.
The good news is that market intelligence will help you to target your products and services better and improve customer satisfaction no end. And we all know that happy customers spend more, stay loyal and sing your praises to their friends.
I have some golden rules when it comes to doing market research. Surveys should be conducted with clear objectives and should avoid leading questions. And sample sizes need to be big enough – representative of your customer base.
And whatever you do, don’t make a big show of consulting your customers and then ignore their feedback – a remarkably common mistake. Listen to what your customers are telling you and react accordingly. Your business could come through the recession stronger as a result.