Market Research is a valuable and important tool for cultivating business growth. The information it provides can act as a useful guide in the decision-making process for a business.
The basis of market research is to identify and solve problems within a business. Its nature is objective and scientific, which means that the main goal is to collect hard facts and then analyse them.
If you are a business that wants to make some strategic-related changes, market research is a great way to shed some light on what you may or may not need to do. However, before you put together a questionnaire or appoint a company to perform the research, you should look into Secondary Research first.
What is it?
Secondary Research is research that has been undertaken for purposes unrelated to specific problem at hand. Essentially, it is research or data that already exists that can be used to help with your decision-making process.
Syndicated sources such as ACNielsen are companies that collect data for the purposes of distributing it to businesses.
Why use it?
The benefits of Secondary Research are twofold. For one, it is generally much cheaper than specifically commissioning research. Secondly, it saves a lot of time and effort that would be spent on formulating, conducting and analysing your own research plan.
Sites like the Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au) are great free sources of information such as demographic data of your local area.
Primary Research is new research that is undertaken to answer specific questions unique to the business. Its major function is to provide specific answers about your product or service.
Why use it?
The main reason why businesses use primary research is to collect data that is more relevant to their own specific needs. Sometimes secondary research isn’t sufficient or even relevant to a business, so they need to undertake the research themselves to obtain answers. For example, if Nike releases a new style of shoe and wants to find out what people think about it, then it’s very unlikely that another researcher has previously collected this information.
How do I conduct primary research?
It is generally a good idea to contact a market research company to help you in formulating a research plan. These companies can help you devise the correct strategy to collect the right kind of data for your needs and help you analyse it. These are some of the following methods of conducting primary research.
- Face-to-Face Interviews: This form of research is very good for collecting a large depth of information. However, this is also slow and expensive (this is because the interviewer must be properly trained to avoid interviewer bias). It can be very effective for exploring possibilities for further research.
- Focus Groups: This involves an open discussion between a small group of individuals who represent your target audience. A trained facilitator conducts and guides the group discussion. This method is also expensive, but it is very effective at collecting qualitative information that can be used later in questionnaires or surveys.
- Online Surveys: These surveys are designed to reach a wide number of people at a cost effective price. The information collected is quantitative, which means it can be analysed more objectively.
- Phone Interviews: Similar to online surveys, phone interviewers ask survey questions to participants over the phone. The benefit of this is that the interviewer can clarify the questions with the interviewee if they are not understood. This is a moderately priced option.
You don’t need to be a multi-national company in order to use market research. Even small business owners can use simple research such as census data to aid them in strategic decisions. Anyone looking to undertake a new business venture should always consider doing some research first!