All businesses rely on marketing. Even the sole proprietors and small businesses rely on marketing whether by word of mouth or an ad the paper. However, before you can successfully develop a marketing strategy, you need to determine your audience. Who are you marketing? Who is going to buy your product, spend the most on your product, or continue purchasing your product in the long term? These questions and many more can be determined by market research.
There are two main sources of market research. Primary market research is data that you have gathered yourself. The data is gathered by presenting potential customers with a questionnaire crafted specifically for the information that your company requires. This can be presented in a number of ways including, direct mail, phone interviews, one-on-one interviews, and group interviews.
If you do not have the resources to conduct your own market research, a lot of information can be found through secondary sources. These are market research studies performed by other organizations and companies. Some sources of secondary market research include the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economic Statistics & Research, and Fedstats.gov.
Market research can answer a number of questions for your company. Figuring out who your customers are is just one of the possible objectives. You can also use market research as a problem solver. You can judge the opinion of a product under development to determine any problems before the product is released. You can than use another set of data to determine how you should fix those problems.
Whether you are trying to figure out your potential customers or solving problems for your existing business, there are many resources with further information on market research. The Small Business Administration, for example, is dedicated to helping small businesses succeed. In the course of that pursuit, they offer free information about market research for anyone needing the basics.