How to carry out market research


  1. Focus on research which will help you make better decisions.
  2. Work out what you need to know and whether you need an in-depth understanding or simple numerical results.
  3. Decide how quickly you need the information and how accurate it must be.
  4. Set up your research with a clear brief, including objectives, deadlines and any important background information.
  5. Decide whether you have the expertise to carry out larger research projects or need to use an external agency, or freelance researcher.
  6. Make full use of easily accessed information from internal records, employee feedback, publications and the Internet.
  7. Ask your customers who they see as your competition and why they use you.
  8. If necessary, invest in surveys, observation and experiments to back up decisions.
  9. Analyse research results carefully and objectively.
  10. Be prepared to carry out further research if the information you have is insufficient or out of date.
  11. Use your research to make decisions and plan strategy.
  12. Regularly update your understanding of customers and market conditions.

Cardinal rules


  1. plan your objectives and clarify what you need to know
  2. choose the most cost-effective research methods
  3. use your research to improve your competitiveness
  4. keep up to date


  1. base important decisions on inadequate research
  2. ignore research which contradicts your preconceptions
  3. rely on old research