Marketing Research before Putting Up a Small Business


Rakhi Garg
B.Sc., MBA Marketing Gold Medalist from Ajmer University
Pursuing PhD from JRN Vidhyapeeth Udaipur

Whether you are starting or planning to put up a small business, it is important that you have the latest market information. It will provide you significant data that are helpful in solving marketing problems. If ever your business encountered such difficulties, you can easily take immediate action about it.

A thorough market research will serve as your business foundation for achieving success. In fact, there are two strategies that are effective when doing market surveys. One is the market segmentation which helps you identify specific segments in the market. Another is the product differentiation which helps you create the identity of your own products and services which make it unique from other competitors.

There are different methods that you can use for doing
market research. It includes experimental, historical, survey, or observational method. Regardless of the methods used, you will still be gathering two types of important data.

The first is the "primary" data which you can obtain alone or let someone gather it for you. There are two types of gathered information here.

1.Exploratory research will help you in defining specific problems. It usually involves detailed and unstructured interviews wherein lengthy answers are provided by a limited number of respondents.

2.Specific research has a broader scope yet expensive. However, this helps in solving the problem that was identified through exploratory research. The interviews are formal and structured.

When doing primary research, there are three basic avenues you can apply.

-Using direct mails The tactics include brief and direct questions, direct addressee of the respondents, limited pages of questionnaires, attached professional cover letter explaining the survey, and enclosed reminder to respond. The drawback can be lower mail responses from the respondents.

-Phone surveys. This is more cost-effective compared to direct mails in terms of response rates. Phone interviews also allow a wider geographical range. It is also relatively inexpensive by using the cheaper rates at specified hours. The tactics include direct respondents confirmation upon contacts, constant flow of conversation, follow-up calls, and direct relay of information.

-Personal interviews. It can either be a group survey or a depth interview. Group survey is mostly used by big businesses as a brainstorming tool to obtain information on new products and product modifications. Depth interviews are done with a ready made checklist.

The "secondary" data are those that are already organized and compiled for your own good. Examples include studies and reports done by trade associations, government agencies, and other business industries. You can take advantage of this useful information. This is categorized into three different areas.

-Public sources such as public libraries, business departments, and governmental departments. This is the most cost-effective way of finding information. It can be sometimes provided as free with lots of better information to offer.

-Commercial sources such as trade and research associations,
financial institutions, corporations being traded publicly, and banks. This can be costly since association fees and subscription fees are involved. However, it will cost less if you hired a team to research and collect the information for you.

-Educational sources. This source of information is sometimes overlooked. However, more research is conducted in polytechnic institutes, colleges, and universities compared to a business sector in the community.

The steps to success always start on the basics. Just choose the best market research technique that will meet your business needs.

Rakhi Garg
B.Sc., MBA Marketing Gold Medalist from Ajmer University
Pursuing PhD from JRN Vidhyapeeth Udaipur

Source: E-mail May 30, 2007




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