A small business owner has undoubtedly done countless hours of research and put forth great effort in starting up and maintaining their company. Unfortunately, these same business owners may not have focused enough energy towards researching the market and target segments to assure that there is an actual preexisting need and desire for the offering.
This paper will compare and contrast three marketing research methods that can be used by small businesses to better understand the sales potential of their marketplace.
The Marketing Research Process
Whether starting a new business or attempting to improve an existing one, marketing research can provide essential information to making wise managerial decisions. Choosing the right combination of location, product offerings, pricing structure, and how to promote one’s brand can be greatly guided by thorough and meaningful marketing research. Failing to properly research, or doing no research at all, will result in failure (Pyle, 2010).
The marketing research process is comprised of six steps designed to generate information for educated business decisions. The six steps are:
1. Defining the problem: for a startup business there can be many problems or questions that are posed, such as: what is the target market for this product? What is the price that will be competitive yet profitable for the product? What is the marketable benefit of the product?
2. Conducting exploratory research: once a ‘problem’ is defined initial research from available sources should be conducted. This could be online resources, information from trusted advisors, or industry and market periodicals. Once a small business is established, internal records can provide invaluable data to r...
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...uctured yet open-ended questions to more accurately measure consumer sentiment.
Small business owner should always consider the types of questions needing to be answered combined with the type of target markets and segments when deciding on research methods and if there will be enough data collected to make informed presentations Additionally, one does not have to choose only one method and should include secondary research along with any other research methods.
Small business owners that wish to startup correctly, sustain profitably, and grow their brand must employ effectively market research. Using a structured process and reliable methods for collecting data will provide insight to the market and buying habits. Applying the learned information and being diligent to continue the process may someday allow for progression and expansion of the business.
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