Friday, May 11, 2007


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How to get market research for your business
One of the hardest to find element of business planning is market research. Not just any old market research, but research that is relevant to your specific market and provides you answers that you need.
Why use market research ?
When people use the term "market" they are simply grouping segments of customer needs. When you sliced and diced your customers into target segments you will have the same. And each group has different needs and each group behaves differently.
By using market research you will find out information on the frustrations of these groups, the trends over time, the value of these segments, who has the top share of these segments and much more.
However, market research does not cover everything at once and will be specific to the author as to what they wanted to find out about their target customers. Make sense? OK, read below to find out how to get market research for your industry.
How to obtain market research
Of course the only way to get the data YOU want and need is to go off and undertake the research yourself. Sounds expensive eh? But not if you carefully conduct it. Here are ways to get research:
Do it yourself - If you have a local customer base you can contact with ease then you can do all this yourself. But planning is key. Work out exactly why you want this data, what you will do with it when you get it and get inside your customers' minds. Prepare a questionnaire to ask your customers. Try it out on many people before you conduct any research to hone the questions. Then get your customer base to answer it. This could mean giving it to current customers, using a mailing house to send to specific addressees, posting it yourself, conducting research one to one in shopping malls etc. Work out where your customers are and go to them. You can easily recruit some college folks to help you out to keep the costs down.
Use research from the big guys - All large companies conduct research themselves. They need to justify their leadership status or why their profits are declining !. And, they post a lot within the public domain. So go to the website of the leaders in your industry, top franchisors and industry spokespeople. Look in the news section of their website as well as annual reports. There will be a lot of good information.
Using the internet - of course there will be independent studies carried out all the time and you just need to track them down. So, go into google and start searching. Start with a generic search like "your industry market research" - but also use specific terms like "your industry market growth" and "your industry market profits" - and search with and without the quotation marks.
About market research
You may find that a lot of the research is out of date. But do not worry. Research is there to mainly highlight trends over time because of the larger sample sizes. If you have a new gizmo you think might sell, then this is not the type of research you need. You need to test your new product in one to one groups of your target market and get direct feedback.
The research highlighted above provides you with market growth rates and other trends that should underpin your business plan as well as solidify your understanding of the market trends.
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