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Research is one of those areas of marketing, that is often forgotten or thrown in the too hard basket. Yes, it is difficult to do market research as well and as detailed as the specialists – but there is a way for you to do your own, and still get results. Something as simple as a customer satisfaction survey can make a massive impact on your business! There are a number of different types of Market Research.

Let’s start with Secondary Research. Secondary Research is using research studies and information that other people have found. Also known as Google for most! Some other great sources are Google Scholar, and Ibis World (you can get limited knowledge for free, the rest comes at a cost – if you are in a competitive industry the knowledge from one of these reports can be invaluable). Your particular industry may have other research centers that can help you.

This type of research can be wonderful for identifying market trends, doing a competitor analysis, or looking for new opportunities.

Then we have Primary Research, which is Research that ‘you’ conduct. It takes two forms, Quantitative and Qualitative.

In terms of conducting your own research, Quantitative will come in the form of either a customer satisfaction survey or general research. Using a site like Survey Monkey (free – but you can pay for more control) will help you to collect your data. This can be great for outlining possible areas of improvement in your business and delivery system and to gain some insight into your consumers.

The difference between doing your own survey – which will still give you some interesting and useful results, and using a Market Research company like us – is that when we do the survey we don’t just look at the results – but use various analysis methods we are able to look into the correlation and meaning behind the results.

I’ll give you an example: If you did the survey you might find that a number of people weren’t happy with the delivery times. However, with our analysis, we may be able to look at the same results and determine that it was generally people from one suburb who weren’t happy with the delivery times – Instead of you spending time and money trying to increase the delivery time you now know that you only have to work on one particular area.

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The other form of Primary Research is Qualitative Research, and this often comes in the form of focus groups. This involves getting a group of people (generally from within your target market) together in a room to discuss your product.

It can be an invaluable tool during the research and development of new products – it can save you from errors that you haven’t noticed in product design, functionality, or an interpretation of your new slogan! Generally, this is organized by a Research firm however you can do this kind of research on a smaller scale.

To conduct your own focus group, invite some of your customers over – bribe them with champagne and nibbles if you need to. Sit them around a table and just talk to them, ask them about your product, your company, your brand – some amazing insights can come out of this kind of research. Do take note, however, you are dealing with very small sample size, so don’t change an entire business model based on the comments of one or two people!!

Research doesn’t have to be difficult, and sometimes even small-scale research can be very beneficial to your business! It is an under-utilized area of marketing and you should take advantage of it before your competition does!

Photo Credit: timlewisnm via Compfightcc

Dahna Borg

Author Dahna Borg

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