Marketing Research: It's Chicken Soup for Your Marketing Plan
Well, I'm not sure that I've come up with a good answer, but I think sometimes we don't want to see or hear the truth. If your company is humming along at a pace that is comfortable to you, you probably don't want to hear that you should be moving in another direction. Or, if your company is making buggy whips, for example, you don't want to hear that the automobile has replaced the horse and buggy. I'm being facetious, of course. But, I think most of us plod along doing the same thing year after year because that's all we know how to do or because it's just too difficult to push that boulder up the hill. We don't want to make waves in our company. We don't want to get caught in the political crossfire. So, we don't do any market research.
Time to change your attitude about market research. It is an invaluable tool to either confirm that you are headed in the right direction with your marketing strategies or to pull you in the right direction. For example, if you find out that the particular market you currently serve is trending downward and that some other technology is replacing it, why wouldn't you want to re-applicate your product line or create an entire new product line to continue to serve your customer's needs?
Market research doesn't need to be expensive. There are two types of market research. The first type is called Primary market Research. This is research that you gather yourself. You could hire a market research company and spend thousands of dollars, but you may already have much of the information you need in-house. Talk to your sales reps. They can be a great source of industry information about your competitors, about your customer's wants and needs, and about general industry trends.
You can also plan a small focus group in conjunction with a trade show where you know your target audience will be attending. Develop a short 5 question survey and distribute via e-mail or on one of the social media sites. All of these ideas are very cost effective and easy to accomplish.
The second type of market research is secondary market research. You can find much of this type of research on the Internet. Some companies typically will sell their research studies for a fee. But, there is a lot of information for free on the Internet. You can garner this type of information from trade associations, government databases through the Freedom of Information Act, and don't forget your local library.
So, make a resolution for 2010 to gather information about your products, your customers, your competitors, or industry trends. You'll be able to make better strategic marketing decisions with good solid marketing data in hand.
Labels: marketing research