Do It Yourself Market Research

The term “market research” may raise hairs on the back of some business owners’ necks. As the ‘Down-n-Dirty’ part of marketing, market research is where you must get your hands soiled to get results. No one really likes to do it, and that’s why it is usually delegated to a third party company.

However, you can gain a great deal of valuable knowledge from the data collected from market research. Here are a few DIY tips to guide you on your way.

Types of Market Research

First you must understand the two main types of market research: Primary and Secondary. Primary research is the data you collect through your own efforts. Every question you ask, every survey you design and send, all comes back as current data that pertains most to your business. Primary data can be gathered by:

  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Questionnaires
  • Focus groups
  • A simple question as your customers leave your store

Secondary market research is data you can use for your business purposes, but has already been collected by someone else. You can analyze secondary data to get good knowledge and insight to a particular marketing problem, but it is not as strong as primary source data.

Secondary data may include:

  • US Census Data
  • National Survey Reports
  • Studies published in trade journals

Goal of Collecting Data

Your goals for collecting primary market research data are to get the most unbiased and statistically probable information possible. Therefore, you may want to avoid these mistakes:

  • Using only friends, family, and acquaintances – This leads to biased data. It’s not that their opinions don’t count, but you need much more raw data from unbiased subjects.
  • Using only secondary data – While secondary data is great to research, collect, and analyze, it doesn’t get to the root of your own marketing problem.
  • Looking at raw data – All those hundreds, or even thousands, of questions mean nothing if you can’t find trends. Enter your data into statistical software like an Excel spreadsheet to find majority opinions, create graphs and charts of trends, and even colorize your data to help you make the best decisions.

Whether you are trying to launch a new product or simply changing your branding colors, market research gives you the hard data to help make the best decisions for your company. So why not do it yourself whenever you can?