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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Primary Market Research Techniques

This info-guide provides a summary of primary research techniques - primary, being research that is generated first-hand by you and your business.

1. Questionnaires

  • consistent and objective;
  • calculate responses (statistics);
  • additional questionnaires can be prepared if necessary;
  • inflexible;
  • time consuming to prepare, print and calculate responses.

2. Surveys Prepared by College or Business Students

  • inexpensive;
  • third party;
  • survey prepared under guidance of program instructor;
  • many students can carry out a range of data collection.
  • priorities and time frame may not be the same as yours;
  • may not be able to fit practical market research into course content;
  • inexperienced at obtaining information.

3. Informal Talks with Customers

  • open and revealing responses;
  • inexpensive;
  • can obtain subjective and non-verbal information;
  • opportunity to ask unprepared additional questions.
  • time consuming;
  • must prepare key issues in advance;
  • responses may be vague and contradictory and without much thought.

4. Interviews (One-on-one)

  • face to face discussions;
  • combines objective and subjective information;
  • opportunity to obtain additional comments.
  • requires more prep time to develop closed, open ended and probing questions;
  • time consuming to arrange appointments;
  • few people may be willing to be a subject for an interview.

5. Focus Groups (8-12 people)

  • in-depth probing;
  • wide open responses;
  • observation of interaction and dynamics of participants.
  • may require a professional facilitator;
  • additional cost of room and observers.

6. Suppliers, Distributors, Agents & Brokers

  • inside knowledge of industry;
  • knowledge of players, trends.
  • could favor existing dealers;
  • narrow view point.

7. Competitors

  • observe traffic counts, average sales figures and customer patterns;
  • observations on any market aspect (i.e. location, advertising, pricing etc.);
  • competition in other communities willing to talk to someone who won't be a threat.
  • biased;
  • unwilling to talk to potential competitor;
  • travel and long distance costs.

8. Retired From the Industry

  • objective and open;
  • knowledge of industry and its pitfalls and who is succeeding.
  • information may be dated;
  • tired of business concerns.

9. Mentor (experienced business person outside the industry)

  • objective;
  • can analyze situation and be very frank;
  • can assess your own capacity, resources and managerial ability;
  • can advise on strategy and major decisions.
  • lack specific industry knowledge;
  • not always available on a no fee basis.

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