Conducting Marketing Research for Your Business Plan

Do you remember those days when you run around the house aimlessly and with a blindfold until you hit your head against the wall? Many have sustained various degrees of injuries that left scars. That being said, the illustration above can be likened to establishing a business without doing the right thing – proper market research.

Failure to do a proper market research is like driving at top speed along the highway in the dead of the night without a headlight. Market research provides detailed information on why people will patronize you. Basically, it studies consumer behavior as well as different factors that can influence such behavior.

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Regardless of the kind of business you want to establish, market research is important. It gives you more insight about the market in general including demographic and your competitors. With this, you know how best to approach the market and then write a well-detailed business plan.

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Types of Market Research

There are two main types of market research – primary research and secondary research

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Primary Research

Primary Research

This type of research focuses on getting more information about your business on your own. It answers specific questions about your product and services. In this stage, you have to write down every question you can think of. Remember, these are questions that no other source can provide the answers unless, of course, you step outside your comfort zone. Some of the questions include

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  • Will potential customers find my new business name enticing or awful?
  • How much could this product sell for?
  • Is home delivery important?
  • How convenient is it for potential customers to purchase online?
  • What are their likes and dislikes about the product and/or service on offer?

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There are quite a number of ways to conduct primary research. These include

  • One-on-one interviews with either familiar or unfamiliar faces
  • A sample population that represent your demographics
  • Phone interviews. In this case, you can put a call through to as many competitors as possible to get more information about their services. With this, you can know their strength and weakness and fashion ways to stand out.

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Keep in mind that conducting primary research can be stressful yet enjoyable. You can’t get the right information you need if you stay in your comfort zone. Get out, ask questions and speak to as many individuals as possible. By doing this, you can be more acquainted with the needs and wants of your would-be customers.

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Secondary Research

Secondary Research

This type of research has to do with published data online. Gain more insight into your industry by reviewing documented data and information from other relevant sources. It gives you an overview of how the industry, in general, operates and more information about the competitive market. The key to results yielding secondary research is to focus on your pre-established business objectives. Some of the information you’ll probably get include

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Thorough industry analysis with details about market size and if it has a large growth opportunity

  • What are the strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the industry
  • Who are your target markets?
  • Who are your competitors and why are they thriving?
  • What are consumers’ preferences?

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There are myriads of ways to conduct secondary market research

The internet is by far the first port of call. Make sure you use all available resources online. Other sure-fire ways include

  • Educational institutions
  • Trade publications
  • Financial institutions
  • The government
  • Libraries
  • Company reports

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Note that some publications and online resources might be outdated, irrelevant or misleading. For accurate information, use both primary and secondary research methods. Remember customer likes and dislikes never stops changing and performing marketing research will give you an edge.

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