Ways to Conduct Primary Business Market Research

How to conduct business market research with Focus Groups, Phone Interviews, eMail Questionnaires and Surveys and Mailing Lists.

Focus Group Market Research

A focus group is when a group of 10 to 15 people are collected and presented with a list of questions to ask about your product. They are asked certain questions about their own consumer behavior in relation to your business and product. The participants are usually chosen and targeted to match the profile of the consumer that you intend to sell your business to. In order to find participants you can use the resources advised by the local Chamber of Commerce or you can simply go to the closer spot. Participants in a focus group are usually paid $75 $200 for the feedback.

Just to give you an idea of how a focus group is treated, you should have a list of questions to ask the members beforehand. In case you have decided to do this function yourself, you will act as a focus group moderator. You should encourage open-ended if of conversation and encourage require members to get their feedback as well otherwise you’ll end up getting all information from the talkative participants only.

You should ask questions like what is the highest price that they would pay for a product, whatever the shop for such a product, do they dislike or like the product or its packaging?

You should try to determine the consumer behavior or cater to a particular aspect that you need more information on regarding a product such as how high you can price the product.

Telephone interviews Market Research

You can also interact with potential consumers via cell phone interviews which can be at a brisk inexpensive and fast way to get information. However, this can turn tend to be a little more week and nonspecific than a focus group. It all depends on how you choose your target potential consumers for the interview. If you simply take a phone book and start making calls, you are going to target a random group of people who may or may not be potential customers and hence the feedback that you get me on in a correct. However, just as with a focus group, you need to prepare a script before you make the call. If you are making cold calls, your script will need to include introduction of yourself and your intent for making the call. You should try to keep the phone interview short simple and clearly worded. You can also hire somebody else such as a college student to do telephone interviews for you. Just make sure that it is done in an efficient and professional manner. Another way of finding potential consumers for telephone interview is to have them called you rather than you make the calls. You can post about your primary research on a bulletin board in a college or in a shopping mall or any other popular locations such as coffee shops and have the people who are interested call you. You can begin by asking them information about themselves in order to see whether they match the profile or not. If they do you then proceed with the interview and tell them about whatever information that you are intending to offer. If any.

Direct-mail interviews Market Research

Direct mail interviews are similar to making telephone interviews only that the survey is made as a postcard, letter or a questionnaire. You can keep it as simple as competitive as you want but usually the questions are restricted to a minimum of 20 and precise is a maximum of one page. Anything longer will probably don’t and intimidate the and discourage the person. People do not like I’m single and the esoteric questions so your direct mail service should be structured to contain mostly yes/no or ugly disfiguring check off boxes. This is done so that the respondents can also easily and quickly. You can include a section where the respondent is about to give any extra premium or suggestion if he wants to.

E-mail interviews Market Research

These are similar to the telephone interviews except for the fact that the interviews are sent in an e-mail. Give instructions on how to respond and be appreciative to the respondent for the data you get back. You can use several online survey companies to create a survey with you for your business online which will be presented to the respondent as our online form and their responses recorded and sent back to you. Many online survey companies can do this for you at a reasonable price and even help compile and assimilate the data for you for you to in order to make it easier for you to read and decipher it and see the results. For an online interview, the respondent is usually provided with a small introduction and a link to click on in the e-mail.

In order to make a list of potential customers to call or send questionnaires to, you can get a list from many places including suppliers, trade association called list rental company. List rental companies can give you access to a group of people who match your required profile for the consumer as a mailing list. You can also contact the direct marketing Association for such a list.Surveys and focus groups. Informal. Have a list of questions. Colleges and malls for prospective customers. $15-$70 for surveys and focus groups. Questions to ask, will they buy, how much will they pay, do they prefer a competitors version, why, where do they shop. Telephone interviews. Cheaper alternative. Could be less focused. Depends on your approach to choose your sample data. Mailing list companies. Research companies. Online market research companies. Prepare a careful script. Many might hang up. Many might not provide accurate or adequate feedback. Hire college students to make calls. More time consuming. Direct mail interviews. Similar to surveys. More effective when offering paid surveys. Can use online research consumer Companies. Many of them have a data base and systems to send out prescreening surveys to their data base. Ideally yes no questions. No more that 20 questions. No more than one page. Can be as simple as a postcard. Email interviews. Similar to direct mailers.

What is Primary Business Market Research

The secondary market research gives you a good idea of your niche and the challenges facing your business. However, doing primary research gives you the feedback direct from the source which is your customer. It gets you get a more complete picture of your target market.

Primary Market research is usually done with the help of surveys, focus groups, interviews and any other form of personal interaction with the potential customer. Some people find the time research is more tedious and complicated than a secondary research. If this is the case, a market research firm can help you do this procedure. They may charge a few thousand dollars or more depending upon the complexity of the job. But if it serves a purpose, you can usually consider this money well spent. If you are a small business on a budget you can master your local Chamber of Commerce to recommend from the individual who can conduct market research for a small budget.

You can also go to your SBA district office for guidance and counselors to help you figure out what questions you need to ask in case you want to take on the job of personally interacting with your potential customers just a. As is the case of secondary research, the SBA, colleges and universities as illustrated associations are good sources of help the primary search. You can get advice and information as to how to go about doing primary research and interacting with your potential customers.

Usually if the method of getting primary research information is a focus group, or an interview, the potential consumer is asked 20 focused questions which still you a lot about consumer behavior as well as his reaction to your product.

Summary

  • Secondary market research helps with targeting your niche, understanding market conditions and competitors.
  • Primary market research gives complete picture of who the consume is and what he wants.
  • Can get complex. Hire a market research firm.
  • Cost a few thousand dollars.
  • The more complex the information the more well spent the money on primary research.
  • Local chambers of commerce can recommend research firms that work with smaller businesses
  • Don’t want to spend a lot of money, take assistance from SBA district office, and also colleges and universities.
  • Counselors at the SBA office and professors and experts in colleges can help you figure out the questions you need answered for your product. Secondary research gives imports information about business potential, business conditions and your niche. Primary research adds to that by getting information directly from the people that are going to affect your individual business such as your customers, dealers, suppliers etc. Primary research can tend to get complicated and complex. There are professional firms that can do this or you. Get recommendations from the local chambers of commerce. SBA counsellors can provide valuable input for free. If planning to do it yourself SBA, colleges etc can help you figure out the right questions to ask and how to find the people that could be your target market. Students in colleges can be good sample of primary research if they fit your target market. Money saving tactic.

Business Market Research On Internet

Some good sources for doing a business market research on the Internet.

These days you can be surprised at the amount of information that is available for free online. You can start with the major consumer online services which offer access to business databases we can find everything from headlines to business deals to industry trends and company specific business information such as company address, telephone number, feel business and the name of the CEO. This information could be critical for identifying prospects and running to make sales calls and developing mailing lists.

Here are some of the better-known websites which will help you get on your way by doing some secondary market research.

KnowThis.com – knowthis.com marketing virtual library includes a tab on the site called “Weblinks” that contains links to a wide variety of market research web resources.

BizMiners.com bizminers.com lets you choose national market research reports for 16,000 industries in 300 U.S. markets, local research reports for 16,000 industries in 250 metro markets, or financial profiles for 10,000 U.S. industries. The reports are available online for a nominal cost.

MarketResearch.com marketresearch.com has more than 250,000 research reports from hundreds ofsources consolidated into one accessible collection that’supdated daily. No subscription fee is required, and you pay only for the parts of the report you need with its “Buy by the Section” feature. After paying, the information is delivered online to your personal library on the site. All the sources mentioned earlier (trade associations, government agencies) should also have websites you can visit to get information quickly.

For instance, the Census Bureau offers many helpful websites:

The American Factfinder websiteffactfinder.census.gov) provides excellent access to censusinformation, including a “Maps” feature.

The Statistical Abstract of the United States (census.gov/compendia/statab/) has statistical information from government and private sources complied by the Census Bureau. It can be downloaded for free at the website.

The Census Bureau’s International Database (census.gov/ipc/www/idb) furnishes data on foreign countries.

You can also look for information by doing the research yourself online. Just use the popular search engine and key in the key terms. You can use assistance of information brokers as well. They can act as small companies research and identify the most accurate and cost effective information sources. In order to find information brokers you can you can check the yellow pages or ask the research librarian at your local risk library. Many librarians deal with information brokers and will be able to give you a good recommendation.

Business Market Research with D&B

DNB is a service that offers a wide range of reference material and financial information on previous businesses. They provide financial and business services that include directories for career opportunities, consultants, service companies and regional businesses. You can visit the website at www.dnb.com or call on (866) 503-0287.

D&B’s regional business directory provides detailed information on the financial consumer market and helps you identify new business prospects and processes market potential. Besides basic information such as telephone number, address and company description these reports also tell when the company was started, sales volume, number of employees, parent company and if it’s a public company on which exchange it is listed.

DNB’s million-dollar database can help you develop marketing campaigns for business-to-business sales. The million-dollar database lists approximately 1.6 million US and Canadian leading public and private companies and includes information regarding number of employees, sales and ownership. The database also includes biographical information on owners and officers and gives insights into the background and business experiences. For more information go to www.DNBMDD.com.

Financial reports from DNB can give you detailed finance financial information about various businesses. While these are provided for a certain fee, you can find some information listed for free as well.

Spending a few dollars here to get detailed reports about a few key companies can help you analyze your competition more carefully as well as to develop your business by targeting other companies for your business-to-business sales.

Business Market Research with Surveys

Surveys have a reputation of saying what someone wants them to say. There are all kinds of surveys proving all kinds of data. Some may believe that surveys are an overrated form of getting statistical and market research data. But this does not necessarily have to be true.

The importance and accuracy of the information collected in a survey depends on the skill of the surveyor. Meaning that if the right questions are asked from the right people, you are likely to get the right response.

Reliable surveys have an ample sample data, meaning that enough opinions and feedback is taken from a large enough number of people to accurately reflect the general consensus.

A good survey chooses the consumer. If you do not ask the questions to a targeted audience, you are bound to get non interested replies or even the wrong ones.

The people who answer the survey should be qualified to comment on your business product or service.

The questions should be closely related to your business.

A survey is also updated and repeated periodically to make sure that the date remains current and up to date.

Summary:

1. Overrated and overstated but can be used to great benefit. 2. Trade associations could have overly positive undercurrent. 3. Reliable surveys have the following characteristics. 4. Based on an ample sample amount. 5. The sample data comes from your market. 6. The sample date comes from qualified or connected audience. 7. Constantly updated. 8. Right questions are asked. 9. The information concerns your business.

Business Market Research with Government Agencies

Doing Business Market Research Using the Free Government Data from Websites and Government Agencies like the Census Bureau.

Government agencies are a great source for market research. All county governments publish density and distribution figures in the widely available census data. These publications will tell you about the populace staying in each precinct, water district or even 10 block areas. Some counties also published a population trend which tell you how the population was 10 years ago, five years ago as compared to the present. This is important because you should watch out for areas where the operation seems to be static or declining. Ideally you want to locate a business where there is an expanding population and therefore a growing demand for your product or service.

The U.S. Census Bureau www.census.gov is a source of inexpensive and free business information, available on the Internet.

• The Census Bureau’s State and Metropolitan Area Data Book offers statistics for metropolitan areas, central cities and counties.

• The Census Product Update is a monthly listing of recently released and upcoming products from the U.S. Census Bureau. Sign up for a free e-mail subscription at census.gov.

• County Business Patterns is an excellent Census product that reports the number of a given type of business in a county by ZIP code and metropolitan and micropolitan statistical area.

• For breakdowns by geographical area, look to the Economic Census, which is published every five years. Most of these products should be available online or at your local library. If not, contact your nearest Census office for a list of publications and ordering information, or write to the U.S. Census Bureau, 4600 Silver Hill Rd., Washington, DC 20233, (301) 763-INFO or (800) 923-8282.

Many Census Bureau reports are also available on CD or DVD, or are free on the internet.

The US government also has an official Web portal that is a good source of information, www.usa.gov. There is a section that is full of links to all information and services that federal government provides the business community. You’ll also find tax related questions in this section by visiting the taxes link at www.business.gov.

You might also try at the Commerce Department’s economic indicator webpage www.economicindicators.gov. This website will give you an idea of the various trends in the market and you can discover if the consumer market is ready to spend money on your product or service. Economic indicators website releases Key information and economic indicators from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau almost on a daily basis.

If you’re planning to get into exporting you can contact the Department of Commerce international trade Association, ITA. The ITA publishes several thousand reports and statistical surveys as well as several hundreds of books on everything American entrepreneurs need to know about exporting. Many of the reports and books are available for downloading immediately from the ITA’s publications department website. www.ita.doc.gov.

You will also find information on how to order hard printed copies including archived publications. If you prefer to call it you can call the trade information Center at 800 USA — TRADE.

Business Market Research With Trade Associations, Colleges and Universites and Community Orgagnizations

Trade Associations, Colleges and universities and Community Organizations are a good source for help doing market research for your business. And most the time, these resources do not cost anything.

Business market Research with Trade associations

Getting information from trade associations can be very useful since they can give you market information regarding statistics, list of members and books and reference materials. You should talk to not only your own trade association or the trade association in your field but also the trade association that your customers are part of. This will not only tell you about the interest and Association of the customer but will also help you market your product to them. You can look in the Encyclopedia of associations to find associations relevant to your industry. Most of the trade associations provide information for free.

You can subscribe to the newsletters and magazines that are published on a yearly/bimonthly or quarterly basis by the state associations. These publications keep a tab on the new trends in buying patterns. There’ll be a valuable source for telling you about customer behavior and keep you informed about new production and new industries coming up as well as information on your competitors.

Business Market research in college and universities

College and universities can be a valuable source for information as well. Many colleges and specially professional colleges related to business and management have many resources to help you out with your market research. You can not only find professors who give out professional advice on the side and will be happy to offer you guidance on marketing, sales, strategic planning or financial information for free, you can also find students who are eager to get some experience in a the business world if for nothing else than just for doing research and getting extra credit in the college. You will find many experts on the subject of various aspects of business such as market research, marketing, strategic planning who are professors and teachers in college. If these people cannot help you they can always put in touch with someone who can.

Business market research through community organizations

Your local chambers of commerce or business or government agency can provide useful information. They’re usually free of charge and include assistance with site selection, demographic reports and directories of local businesses. Some of them also for seminars and classes on marketing and related topics that can help you to better research.

Methods of Doing Market Research

Ways and methods to conduct business market research – Primary and Secondary.

There are basically two different methods of doing market research, primary and secondary.

The difference is the source of the data as well as the nature of the data that you get.

What is Primary Business Market Research

Primary research is getting information directly from the source that is your potential customers. You can get information from your potential customers through surveys, focus groups and other methods.

You can choose to hire a research firm to do this job for you or you can do it yourself. As with secondary business market research, colleges professors, trade unions and your local chamber of commerce can help.

What is secondary Business Market Research

Secondary market research involves gathering statistics reports, studies and other data from organizations such as government agencies (most of which have information available for free), trade associations and your local chamber of commerce.

The bulk of the research and the majority of the data that you will get is from secondary research. While you can spend a lot of money doing market research, the good news is that a lot of secondary research information is available for free. You can start at your local library and of course the Internet. Two good sources to look at is the Thomas Register of American Manufacturers, www.Thomas.com and the Harris Infosource All industries and Manufacturing Directories, www.Harrisinfo.com. Both resources can be found at most libraries and was as well as online. Resources can help you look at the trends in your particular industry and also read up on the competitors and by manufacturers for the product.

To get insights into the consumer market you can have a look at the US Statistical Abstract which can be found at most the libraries. It has a lot of information on the social, political and economic information about different areas. Another source for consumer market information is the American Demographics Magazine.

How to Start Doing a Market Research For Your Business

What information a market research should give you about your business and how to start.

Market research is a way of collecting information from the market that helps you to overcome and avoid any marketing problems in the future.

Market research tells you about the viability of the product and how it can expect to do when it’s launched in the future. It tells you about the potential of your business and how many customers are existing who are in need of your business product of service.

A market research helps to create an identity for your product and in this manner also helps to shape it better to face the competition. The market research can also help you choose the proper geographic location for your business where your potential customers are more highly saturated.

Before you begin your market research it is advisable to talk to a consultant, business or marketing professor at a local college or university or contact your local SBA district office. All these sources can point you in the right direction of how to go about doing a market research. They can tell you what kind of information you need for your particular business in order to make key and effective marketing strategies.

A market research should provide you with information in three critical areas of the business which is the industry, the consumer and the competition.

Industry information. A market-research should tell you about the trends that are in current flow in the marketplace. The market research should tell you about the current condition of your field of business such as whether it is a declining or increasing field of business. It should inform you about technological developments that are affecting the industry along with the government legislations and rules. A market research should give you the statistics and the growth potential for your business but comparing it to other existing businesses. You would ideally like to start a business in a thriving and stable industry rather than one which is on the client.

Consumer information. You can derive information about your potential customers and consumers by doing a market survey. A market survey can help you focus the number of sales and the amount of business that you can generate when you launch.

An in-depth look at your consumer will tell you several things about the consumer such as their spending characteristics, purchasing power, per capita income, unemployment rate and other demographic factors. Before you conduct a research on a consumer, you should consider whether your business is limited by any physical boundary or area in which it is going to function.

Looking at the consumer market research you would also be able to determine the current state of the current business that other businesses in your feed are already doing. In a nutshell, you should be able to reasonably estimate the amount of sales that you would be generating. It is very important to note here that starting a new business may simply redistribute the existing consumers rather than creating new ones. This means a lesser share in profit.

We again come back to what we were speaking about earlier about creating a niche.

Creating a niche is another way of generating new customers rather than tapping into the already existing ones. Specializing in a particular field often results in the generation of a completely new customer base. This is something that is good for the business and will be crucial to the success of your business.

Competition information. When you combine the information that you have received about the industry and consumers, you will be able to get a clearer picture about the competition present.

You should not only look at the current competition but also give due attention to potential future competition. When you study your competition you should study the strategies and operations.

Your analysis should give you a clear picture of potential threats from competition, opportunities and weaknesses and strengths of the competition facing a new business. You should get a clear picture of trends that have been established in the industry and where there is an opportunity for an advantage for your business. You can use several secondary research methods such as a library, the Internet as well as articles to learn about accomplishing. If you’re researching a publicly owned company you can contact them to obtain a copy of annual reports.

These reports will not only deliver about the financial state of the company but also what products or service it plans to emphasize in the future. One of the best websites for researching the competition is Hoovers online www.hoovers.com which for a fee provides in-depth profiles of more than 18,000 public and private companies. However there is a lot of free content available on the website as well.

Taking a Closer Look at the Competition when Doing a Business Market Research

Another thing that you should understand about the competition is that it is not always the obvious business week in review. For example, when you look at strategic groups that is competent as we use the same strategies and sell the same product or services you. These are obviously your competitors.

But, the second way to look at competition is to look at the businesses that are targeting the same consumer for that same extra spending dollar and the time. For example if you launch the clothing business, where you will sell latest designer apparel at affordable prices. Now you may feel that there is no other designer apparel store in your area so you do not have any competition. This is not necessarily true. Any other business such as the shoe store or even a beauty salon that invites the same customer to spend money on their appearance can be a competitor. Sometimes you need to go beyond the obvious definitions of competition and think of the box in order to avoid getting sideswiped by an unexpected competitor.

It is a fact that most of the entrepreneurs are clueless about what there competitors are up to. Make sure that you analyze competitor strategy and market position as a part of your market research.

Questions to Ask When Doing a Market Research

Market research is done with the purpose of finding out more about the prospects of your business idea succeeding when you launch it. So think of the uncertainties in your mind or even if you are absolutely sure that you product/ business will succeed when you start it, think of the things that could go wrong such as not finding enough customers, cost being too high etc.

Questions to ask when you’re doing market research.

Whether you hire a professional research firm or take on the duty yourself to do market research, your research should clearly answer the following questions.

The intent of the market research should be to discover as much as you can about the unknown factors controlling the success of your business. In this manner, a market research should typically provide you with the answers to the following questions.

  1. Who will buy the product – Most important aspect to think about. You have a great idea for a business. But is there anyone to buy your services or product? The demand of a business can depend on a lot of factors like income levels, demographics etc. So make sure you find out if the target customers are present where you want to start your business.
  2. Why will they buy it – Why will a person feel the need to buy a product? Does it cater to some requirement that is unmet by current business? Is it a product that is better than the competition? Are you creating a new need by your innovative product?
  3. Where will you sell it – Equably important. Not all kinds of consumers go to all locations. Where will your product or service me able to target your customers the best.
  4. How much will you price it – Pricing is important. Ask for too much and no one will be willing to pay for your business. Price it too less and you will not make as much as you could or would like to even though you have many customers.
  5. How much profit will you make – Deciding a profit margin depends on a lot of things like the demand and supply. If your business is sought after, it could be up to you to decide your profit margin. You could go with less profit with volume sales or high profit with selective sales.
  6. How much of a market can you expect to create – Are you going to create a new market and consumer need with your product?
  7. How much demand and redistribution – How much current market are you simply going to redistribute?
  8. How much competition do you face – How much competition do you face?
  9. Do you have an edge over the competition – How are you going to set yourself apart from the competition?
  10. Do you have a niche – Have you created a niche for your business that puts you in a specialized field?
  11. What are the laws and government regulations affecting your product and do any future changes in these policies affect the way you run your business?

Ineffective or lack of market research can be death for a business.