Market Research

Now more then ever profitable opportunities exist to promote your local business on the Internet. Through search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, email marketing and local listings, you can connect with a willing audience. Your customers are turning to the Internet to find local products and services. If your competitors have an online presence and you don’t, guess who gets to take home the prize.

If you do have a web site, than you need to promote your local business through Pay Per Click on both Google and Yahoo. With Pay Per Advertising you bid on keyword terms that your potential customers would use in a search. The cost per click depends on how competitive the term is. You only pay if a prospect clicks on your text ad and goes to your site. This is referred to as performance advertising, where you only pay if the ad performs.

The appeal of PPC is you can get it going within an hour. You set the budget, you determine what keywords are relevant, and you determine your price per click. You can also turn it on or off in an instance. The general consensus is that PPC generates a higher return on your investment over traditional offline advertising.

For those that like a challenge there is search engine optimization. SEO is the ability to optimize your web site for high search ranking. If you can optimize your site properly, you can benefit from an endless stream of free, targeted search engine traffic. It takes time and effort, but the results can take your business to a whole new level.

Another tremendous marketing tool is email. For virtually nothing you can communicate with both prospects and your existing customers. Email is an excellent method to convert prospects to customers. It can also significantly increase the lifetime value of your existing customers by simply alerting them to upcoming sales and promotions.

The future of your local business will depend on the Internet. It is estimated 25% of searches online are local in nature. The Internet is the perfect resource for finding local products and services, which is why your customers are searching online. Now is the time to get your business positioned to reap the rewards?

The Six Steps In Marketing Research

The main steps in marketing research are:

  • Identifying and defining your problem
  • Developing your approach
  • Research design
  • Collecting the data
  • Performing data analysis
  • Reporting and presentation

Step 1. Identifying and defining your problem

If you are considering conducting marketing research, chances are you have already identified a problem and an ensuing informational need. Of the six steps in marketing research, this is always the first one. Your problem or issue will likely be recognized by one or more levels of management. Sometimes, further definition of the problem or issue is needed, and for that there are several tools we use.

Step 2. Developing your approach

Once your problem is better defined, you can move onto developing your approach. Generally speaking, your approach should be developed almost exclusively around a defined set of objectives. Clearer objectives developed in Step 1 will lend themselves to better approach development. Developing your approach should consist of an honest assessment of your team’s market research skills, establishing a budget, understanding your environment and its influencing factors, developing an analysis model, and formulating hypotheses.

Step 3. Research design

Based upon a well-defined approach from Steps 1 & 2, a framework for the designing your marketing research program should be apparent. This step is the most encompassing of all steps in marketing research, requiring the greatest amount of thought, time and expertise — and is the point at which the less experienced will obtain assistance from an internal/external market research experts. Since the intelligence eventually gained from the research is so closely related to the selected research design, this is the single most important six steps in marketing research, and the step most vulnerable to the typical research errors. Research design includes incorporating knowledge from secondary information analysis, qualitative research, methodology selection, question measurement & scale selection, questionnaire design, sample design & size and determining data analysis to be used.

Step 4. Collecting the data

Often called data collection or survey fielding, this is the point at which the finalized questionnaire (survey instrument) is used in gathering information among the chosen sample segments. There are a variety of data collection methodologies to consider.

Step 5. Performing data analysis

All analysis that can be performed, from complex to simple, depends on how the questionnaire was constructed. Less complex analysis on smaller data sets can be handled with any of a number of office suite tools, while more complex analysis and larger data sets require dedicated market research analysis software. Types of analysis that might be performed are simple frequency distributions, cross tab analysis, multiple regression (driver analysis), cluster analysis, factor analysis, perceptual mapping (multidimensional scaling), structural equation modeling and data mining.

Step 6. Reporting and presentation

Reporting and presentation, if not the most important of the steps in marketing research, is easily the second behind research design. All business critical information and knowledge that comes from your market research investment are limited by how they are presented to decision makers. There are as many reporting styles as there are research reports, but some are definitely better than others, and there are definitely trends to be aware of.