How to Conduct Market Research for Your Business – The Basics

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By: Site Engineer, Staff

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The entrepreneur can embark on the market research personally or engage an external management consultant or independent marketing research organization. Irrespective of who does the research, some systematic steps must be followed.

These include:

1. Definition of the Research Problem
The objectives of the research problems should be precisely stated. What information do I need generally about the consumer, market and the product? What is the research going to achieve? What specific problems will the research assist in solving? These few questions will help the researcher to have a clear idea of what he is set to achieve. In some instances, these questions may be asked to determine whether a problem exists despite the increase in sales being recorded.

2. Decide on the Practical Way of Solving the Problem
This step necessitates the close study of the significance of the problem a preliminary investigation of available materials bearing upon its solution, and discussions among members of the research staff, company officials, customers and other persons in whom the entrepreneur has confidence. Once this job is completed, judgment can be made as to the way the problems are solved and the cost involved.

3. The Review and Appraisal of Secondary Materials Available
Based on the preliminary investigations carried out, if the decision is to go ahead with the project, the next logical step is to assemble, analyze and appraise all-important available information on the particular subject.

4. Planning the Gathering of Primary Materials
A plan should be drawn up for securing data from primary sources. Most especially, if a review of available materials shows that it is inadequate for the purpose intended.

5. Deciding on the Sample
No step in planning a survey is more important than deciding upon the sample to be employed; that is, the number and kinds of people or the forms to be covered. As a practical matter, the representativeness of the sample determines the validity of the conclusions and thus the value of the entire investigation.

6. Actual Gathering of the Materials
This step refers to the methods and devices employed to obtain the data desired. Broadly speaking, it involves decisions on the procedures to be followed, the form of investigation to be used; that is, for example, mailed questionnaire or personal interviews or others.

7. Summarizing and Analyzing Data
When the information has been collected, it should be summarized and analyzed. First of all, the forms upon which the information is recorded should be edited to make sure that only those filled out properly are used. When editing has been completed, the data should be reviewed to determine their adequacy and statistical validity. Provided that these tests are passed, usually, the next step is tabulation. If the forms are properly coded when the investigation is planned, this task is relatively simple. Once the information is tabulated, a careful analysis of it will usually lead to the preparation of certain statistical summarizes, such as averages, frequencies, and corrections of various types.

8. Interpreting Data and Formulating Recommendations
It is in connection with the interpretation of the information and the formulation of recommendations that the real ability of the marketing research man is tested. All recommendations should be subjected to careful scrutiny and reappraisal before they are released. Only supportable conclusions, well founded in facts, are acceptable.

9. Preparing the Research Report
Marketing investigations typically culminate in a report which is presented to the executives and which often recommends specific courses of action. This report should present clearly the results of the investigation and demonstrate conclusively the soundness of the recommendations. To conserve top management’s time, many successful research men make good use of a brief summary of their recommendations as well as important facts and relationships revealed by the study.

10. Follow-up
The entrepreneur or market research team responsible for the recommendations should support the findings and recommendations deduced. Also, do what all it takes to bring about the expected implementation.

 

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