The Fundamentals Of Market Research
by Mickael Taieb, Contributing Writer
When market research is conducted properly, it can translate into tremendous growth potential for your company. So let me give you first introduce you to the overall definition of market research and then give you a couple of pointers on how to conduct market research properly, by utilizing various tools that are currently available.
What is market research?
Market research is the collection and analysis of data about a particular market.
Primary research is a form of market research that results from collecting data from scratch, or in other words, on your own. Secondary research is a form of market research that results from conducting research by sifting through existing data, previously collected by other researchers.
Market research contributes to many aspects of the business environment and sales process. Market research most noticeably affects the marketing, sales, account management, and business development departments of any given business.
So Where Do I Start?
WiseGEEK is a great Web site that offers a handful of tutorial videos on market research and relevant tools. If your new to the topic, then definitely visit their site and poke around. Once you learn the how to of market research, now you’re ready to start conducting your research.
Define Your Goals:
Before starting out with your market research, it is important to clarify what your goals are and why you are conducting your research. Are you coming out with a new product or service? are you trying to figure out what your competition is up to? Once you have your why, then you can start out to perform your market research by analyzing the following market metrics:
1. Geographical location. Where to sell? Once you know which market area you’re targeting, i.e. local, regional, national, international, you can collect data on the types of companies that represent potential opportunities in those areas.
- Google Insights helps you compare search patterns across regions
2. Data sources. How to acquire a database? Online resources are wide, such as
- Local/ university libraries,
- Newspapers and industry magazines and publications
- GreenBook provides a list of market research companies and newsfeeds
- CBSInsights is a data collector for companies across sectors and industries
- BusinessWeek and Manta profile companies and provide basic information, such as employees and locations
3) Type of product/service. What are you selling? It can be a product group (i.e. cosmetics), type of product (i.e. perfume), or a specific brand (i.e. Armani)
- Keyword search
- Google AdWords searches keywords competitors use to advertise their products
- Web traffic analysis
- Google Analytics helps manage your website with web analytics
- Alexa offers web traffic analysis data and provides information on who visits your competitor’s website
4) Buyer’s profile: Who will buy your product or service? Identify characteristics, such as sex, age, socio-economic background, level of education, etc
- Surveys offer ways to know what consumers want in a geography
- SurveyMonkey is a free web-based survey creator
5) End user profiles: Who will you sell to? Identify if they are retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, etc.
6) Keep up with the trends: Are you aware of the latest trends in the industry you’re targeting? Google News, Bloomberg, Investopedia all are excellent resources for discovering the latest trends in any given industry
Some markets have reached such a highly competitive level, that market research tools are too important to forgo for small companies, as well as larger ones.
At my last position, banks, accounting, consulting, and IT firms hired me and my team to research (over the phone) specific geographies. We profiled companies by gathering vital information about them, which would then qualify whether or not that company is a potential match for our client. We went as far as getting companies’ cash balances in their bank accounts. It’s amazing what market research can do to enhance the potential growth of your business, when done correctly.
Mickal Taieb is a market research enthusiast and a recent UCLA graduate in Economics. Mickael recently graduated from a 2-year study in Jerusalem in Talmudic and Theology. He now lives in Los Angeles, CA and is currently involved in multiple market research projects.
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