Marketing Research

To run a successful business, you need to learn all about your existing and potential customers, your competitors, and the economic conditions of your marketplace. Marketing Research is the process of gathering and analyzing consumer and economic data to help you understand which products and services your customers want, and how to differentiate your business from your competitors. This guide provides information on how to use government data and statistics to help you make informed decisions about starting, growing and managing your business.

Market research: 1) identifies customer needs and wants; 2) determines if the product or service meets customer needs; 3) identifies potential target markets; and 4) determines the best advertising technique for each customer group. Market research is an organized process to collect information about the business environment before the business starts. It includes talking with customers about their occupations, interests and buying habits as well as listening to customer requests for products and services.

In order to write your marketing plan and develop effective marketing strategies, you will need to gather facts about your business environment. Marketing Research is the systematic process of collecting and analyzing data to find answers to questions you may have regarding your customers, your competitors, and your industry. The Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL) has a wealth of resources-both print and electronic-that can assist you in understanding these aspects of your business environment.

Find out what you need to know Give your market research some direction by determining what type of information you need about your business and the construction market. Perhaps you want to launch a new product or service for your business, or you may want to know why potential clients don't seem to know about you.

The purpose of market research is to provide relevant data that will help solve marketing problems a business will encounter. This is absolutely necessary in the start-up phase. Conducting thorough market surveys is the foundation of any successful business. In fact, strategies such as market segmentation (identifying specific segments within a market) and product differentiation (creating an identity for your product or service that separates it from your competitors') would be impossible to develop without Marketing Research.

Primary research is usually conducted to highlight and compile the secondary research and fill in the necessary information that was not previously available. Primary research is usually carried out to provide management with updated information. Primary research helps to regulate company sales, keep pace with competitors and devise useful and innovative marketing methods. Secondary and primary research combined together forms the necessary database for the company to perform the required analysis and gain a better understanding and insight into market conditions.

Marketing Research is an objective way to understand and dissect the needs and expectations of your target market on different topics relating to you business, product or services. Market research discovers and documents what customers in the real world believe, need, and want, which is a far better approach than guessing, making assumptions, or making business decisions based on what your racquetball-buddy thinks would sell best.

Market research may also come from secondary sources. This is information others have acquired and already published which you may find relevant. Access to this secondary marketing research data may be yours for the asking and cost you only an email, letter, phone call, or perhaps a nominal fee for copying and postage. Much of it is entirely free. Much of it is available to search on the Internet.

Success depends on a lot of things, but when a person has information about a particular market segment, a geographic area or customer preferences, he will be better-prepared to make the decisions that can make or break his business. Many companies use market research as a guide.

Research is the scholarly or scientific practice of gathering existing or new information in order to enhance one's knowledge of a specific area. Research has many categories, from medicine to literature. Marketing research, or market research, is a form of business research and is generally divided into two categories: consumer marketing research and business-to-business (B2B) market research, which was previously known as industrial marketing research. Consumer marketing research studies the buying habits of individual people while business-to-business marketing research investigates the markets for products sold by one business to another.

The following market research examples were developed by teams of Section 508 Coordinators to illustrate the different methodologies that can be used to provide information that and be used by a procuring official to make informed decisions for the purchase of products and/or services that meet Section 508 requirements. These examples include marketing research planning processes, resources and tools for market research and examples of documentation. The resulting examples relate directly to the specific Section 508 Technical Standards. However, the methodology embodied in these examples can be applied to other product research situations.

Marketing cannot be complete without an extensive research. Market research is the essence of every business. Companies ought to identify their target customers, the loopholes underlying within, and the task to be accomplished. Every organization must know who their clients and customers are and what they want.

Simple in-person research such as taste tests conducted in malls and in the aisles of grocery stores is marketing research. So is elaborate, long-term "beta testing" of high-tech products, particularly software, by experienced users. While advertising agencies formerly conducted much of the product research, that function has also moved into the marketing department of advertisers.

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Maybe the marketing department for your library is you -- when you're not being the reference, circulation, or tech services department! Can you do it yourself? Yes -- but carefully. For example, focus groups ("in-depth, qualitative interviews with a small number of carefully selected people") involve a lot more than gathering a group in a room. Recording and analyzing the data requires some training. Designing a good written survey is also tricky. Whole chapters in statistical textbooks are dedicated to the process of designing "survey instruments" that are valid and reliable. However, the methods are worth learning and fortunately there are many good resources available.

Good research can be conducted on *any* topic or product idea. You can find similar products that have succeeded or failed, and you can examine how or why they did. You can find niches within your intended general market where potential customers are underserved (it's easier to compete where competition doesn't exist than in a crowded space). You can learn where to focus and where to relax your development efforts to more precisely match user needs.

To be successful, a small business owner must know the market. Market research is simply an orderly, objective way of learning about peoplethe people who will buy from you.

Brand research has its perils. Campbell's Soup once convened a focus group comprised of its best soup customers. One of the findings was that those customers saw no need for a low-salt alternative soup Campbell's wanted to market. Concerned that the general public seemed to want low-sodium products, Campbell's retested groups other than their best customers. This research found a market interested in a low-sodium soup. The loyal Campbell's customers loved the saltier product as is, while a larger group of potential customers preferred the low-salt alternative.

A person knows how expensive it can be to conduct marketing research, which is why the person needs to carefully plan his market research strategy. This webcast shows how to best decide what data to collect and the methods used to collect it.

This article, compiled by Hill Reference Library Business Information Specialists, will walk you through the process of conducting marketing research online. Also included are write-ups of the top Internet tools to aid in your research.

A: Companies use market research for a variety of purposes. In most cases, research is used to provide a factual basis for decision making. This can include determining which of several product concepts is most viable, testing marketing messages or positioning, determining brand recognition, understanding customer requirements, providing competitive analysis, assessing the state of a new technology, providing marketplace analysis, or providing sales people with knowledge of their customers and competitors.


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