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Market Research (Noun)

Mar•ket re•search

The action or activity of gathering information about consumers' needs and preferences. "the company has just completed market research on a new type of organic toothpaste"

For many, when they hear Market Research, they think of some people in a room, looking at a not-yet-released product, or commercial. While this is a type of market research, it is not all that is encompassed by market research.

Market research contains many different areas. Such as finding out what your target market location is. Or the average age of people that would use your products or services. It also encompasses if your customers would be male, or female.

Market research is also used to determine if your product or service is able to compete in the areas that you want to reach and if the cost point of your goods or services is within the financial feasibility of your potential customers.

Market research can also give you a great idea on where to start with your offerings. Whether you want to offer in a small batch, or if the market will support a larger scale rollout of your offerings.

All in all, Market research can be summed up as the gathering of information about your business’s buyers’ personality, your target audience, and your customers to determine how viable and successful your offerings would be to your potential customers.

You will also want to have a solid understanding of the differences between exploratory research, and secondary research. These are the two main types of research that your business can do to have actionable information on your services or products.

Primary Market Research

Exploratory Research:

This is the primary research that is less concerned with measurable customer trends and more about potential problems that would be worth tackling as a team. This normally is the first step before any specific research has taken place. This can also involve open-ended interviews or surveys with a small group of people.

Specific Research

Specific Research often follows on exploratory research. This is used to dive into issues or opportunities that your business has already identified as important. In Specific research, your business can take smaller and more precise segments of data in regards to your audience, and ask precise questions that are aimed at solving any anticipated problems.

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Secondary Research

Public Sources:

These sources are your first and foremost source of information when conducting secondary market research. Being free and easily accessible, they offer the most information at the most cost-effective rate. Government statistics are one of the most widely used sources of public information. Two great examples of this in the United States are the US Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Both offer helpful information on the state of various industries across the country.

Commercial Sources:

Commercial sources usually come in the form of market reports. These market reports consist of industry insight compiled by a research company. Some of the most notable research companies include Nielsen, Pew, Gartner, or Forrester. This information they provide generally costs money to purchase from them.

Internal Sources:

Internal sources of information don’t get a lot of credit, and they should get more credit. Why you may ask? Because this is market research that your company already has in house. The average revenue per sale, customer retention rates, and other data on the health of your company is already there if you have that historical data. This can all help you draw conclusions on what your buyers like, and what they might want in the future.

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