It is arguably the most important part of getting a solid and thoroughly constructed business and marketing plan. To those who do this may find the task arduous and face information overload. Information resources in general and the Internet in particular are saturated with too much data that can make market research an unnecessarily daunting task. With this thought in mind, it helps to have some guidelines to place in how to properly and efficiently conduct your market research in terms of where to being looking for the information that you are exactly looking for. These steps can help make the entire process much more manageable and hopefully, enjoyable.
- Create the plan, Design the Project. Who are your target audience that can best answer the questions that you can come up with in establishing your own research goals? What could be the proper questions to ask them? You would need to determine what kind of research you will be doing and what sources would you think to that kind of research. The Internet is obviously a great resource but it should not be the end-all-be-all of the entire research methodology. Make sure to look into other methods such as surveys as well as focus groups. Other sources such as government publications, commercial data, and the good old fashion books and magazines can also prove to provide valuable information and insights.
- Establish your Research Goals. Establishing clearly defined goals is a critical element in any endeavor and to have a high quality market research is no exception. Before consultations will begin, you must determine what exactly the problem or issue is and what would you like to address through the research. Know how the information that you uncover is to be used toward the ultimate end of solving the problem or issue at hand. Asking and answering these types of questions establishes a sharper focus when you actually begin the research.
- Data Gathering. A strong market research is process-based which means that it goes beyond looking up statistical data and other information that has been collected by someone else and conducting first-hand research in a controlled environment to the goal of gathering the data within the appropriate contexts, using one or more research methods, and always cognizant of how data models play off of each other to provide the information that is being gathered.
- Data Analysis. It is important to look for trends in the type of information you are collecting and properly determine what those trends are trying to show you. In what is the probably direction is the information taking you as it relates you to your original research goals? It is critical that you will not try to make your own findings in any preconceived notions. Do not attempt to twist the data and invent a narrative but let the information lead you to make just critical decisions about your business.
- Applying your Findings. This is some sort of an easy part. If you have been thorough with your research, you will find that the application of your findings will be highly useful tool in developing in your own business strategy as it will pertain to factors such as markets, pricing and the like. Research does not have to be tedious and cumbersome. Once findings are applied, you just might see that it was enjoyable and to an extent, fun.