Market Research: Relevant for Home Business?

Market research is the acquiring of information about customer’s preferences, status, economic standing, demographics, etc in a way that is systematic and organized to produce results for analysis and study. Market research is used to determine the width, berth and depth of a market. In other words, market research is finding out how many people might be interested in a product or service based on who they are, what they do and how they behave.

Estimated market needs, size and completion can all be determined from the statistical analysis of the important information gleaned from the market research. The analysis of the information provides a critical stepping stone for gaining a competitive advantage over the completion in a market. The insight gained from applying the statistical and analytical methods and techniques of applied social sciences, offer support for decisions that can create a competitive advantage. A competitive advantage is the golden grail of business, everyone wants one, but not everyone will do the work required to get one.

Businesses have realized the relevance of the demographic information provided by market research since the advent of wide spread communication. Sponsorship of early radio programs in the early 1920′s most likely lead to the formalized market research programs of today. However, the true history may stretch back to formation of communities at river crossings because of the habits observed of people tending to cross the river at a specific site.

Primary Research and secondary research make up the two major classes of market research conducted today. Primary Research is actually divided into two subdivisions which are qualitative and quantitative research. In the terms of market research, the quantitative approach is one where a researcher asks a limited population a specific narrow based question in hopes of being able to apply the compiled answers mathematically to the general population in an unbiased way. Qualitative research asks broader based questions of larger populations. The researcher receives narrative answers that are then interpreted for themes and patterns exclusive to the participants. These are simple explanations of the in-depth approaches, but carrying out such studies may be well beyond the means of the typical start-up home business.

The good news about primary research, for the typically fund limited home business, is that there already exist huge databases of documented primary research information. Governments, universities, large corporations, news communities and libraries are among the sources for primary research information databases. These institutions have the resources required to compile the data required for the primary research. With the advent of the internet it may be more realistic for a home business operator to collect virgin primary research data, but the task will still require a huge amount of time and effort that may be better used elsewhere.

Management Consultant for Primary Market Research

Primary Research is a form of research where the data is collected directly from a respondent. Market research is done to understand an area in-depth. Understanding the marketing environment is a must. Market research helps in finding out how the market is. Being aware of what’s going on in the market is called Market Intelligence. The areas that are considered a part of market intelligence are-

- Product Position- The position they have in the market favourable, unfavourable or neutral? Primary Research answers these question, so that the marketing efforts can be designed based on the position to brand, product or service.

- Market segmentation- Understanding the market segment is a must, the product or service needs to be positioned accurately in the dynamic market. Research finds out if the product should be marketed to seniors, working professionals or teenagers. This also helps in tailoring the message.

- Consumer Behaviour- Understanding a consumer’s behaviour is a must, their personality, their attitude, motivation and other intrinsic factors. Primary Market research is one on one research.

Management consultants help with primary market research. As a type of research primary market research takes a lot of time, by hiring a management consultant they would be able to conduct an in-depth research which would provide conclusive and empirical results.

Primary market research has several steps, this steps need to be clearly defined at demarcated, the following are the six major steps-

- Defining the problem statement- The problem must be clearly stated i.e. what are you trying to find out or prove. An example could be finding out the sales forecast for a period of a month. The time and place needs to be clearly defined.

- Method of data collection- The method needs to be defined and followed spot on. Whether the method adopted is going to be a survey or an interview. If a survey is selected, is going to be a telephonic interview or an online survey. The method needs to be defined in the beginning, so that the questions can be devised.

- Sampling technique- Defining the sampling technique is a must, random, stratified, cluster or some other technique. A mix of techniques must be avoided, for primary market research the company must use stratified sampling. As a technique for data collection, stratified sampling the researcher divides the entire target population into different subgroups, then selects the final group or sample. This method is adopted when the population size is vast, complete enumeration cannot be possible when the sample size is large.

- Analysis of data- After the process of data collection, the data must be interpreted through statistics. The researcher must define the software they are using to interpret the data. The statistical measures they are going to use to prove the problem statement.

- Error checking: This step is very crucial, the researcher must check if the data is entered accurately, if a hypothesis is stated it needs to be proved or disproved at this stage. The data or evidence must be corroborated at this stage.

- Research Report Writing- All the chapters of the research must be combined, the charts, tables and other forms of pictorial representation must be written at this stage. The Interpretation of the research findings is finished at this stage.

Management consultants can conduct in-depth works of research. Market analysis in general takes time and primary market research is more tedious, companies must hire management consultants to carry on this task. The steps are many and each step takes a lot of time, the end result is that market research answers many questions that companies are asking.

What Is Market Research? – A Brief Insight With Marketing Objectives and More!

Marketing is the most important aspect of any business. Only an effective marketing plan or strategy will help to take your business to new heights. To make sure you have the right strategy or plan in place, business owners must consider the opinions of their consumers first. The process of collecting varied opinions and gathering information about the services offered by a specific company using different techniques is referred to as ‘Market Research’. The information thus gathered helps in creating new methods, products and lucrative business decisions.

Types of Market Research

Most of the companies gather information about their services using focus groups or consumer surveys. Their views about the services, like which part of the service they feel is appealing, why they prefer your services over the competitors, what can be done to improve their services and what more do they expect from the business etc., will help the business to perform exceptionally well. Every intelligent marketer who wishes to see his business on the verges of success will definitely agree with the fact that market research is an important part of your business strategy.

Let us get into the “how” factor now. Researches are of two types – primary and secondary. The primary refers to the data you generate yourself about the services and products offered by you, to check out the reaction of the potential market, whereas the secondary points towards the information that already exists. It can be anything such as census, demographic data or the industry trends. Other secondary sources include internet, trade associations, published articles and financial data of the companies.

Why is Market Research important?

A few of the many reasons why market research is important for businesses:

It helps in Better Communication with Your Customers

Consumers always have a higher hand when it comes to doing business. In order to have them connected closely to your business, you must communicate clearly. Try to meet or exceed their expectations consistently to stay in their good books. Show them you care for them by communicating your concern and accepting their suggestions.

Market Research helps you Identify Growth Opportunities

Though businesses want to grow, they are not sure of the path they are expected to follow. In order to stay focused and gain more revenue, the marketers must prioritize the opportunities that bring in more revenue. It also helps your business if you identify the attitude of the consumers and acknowledge the fields where your R&D techniques or your sales figures need to be enhanced/developed.

Remember – if you are not keeping up with the trends as expected by the consumers, someone else might do.

Minimize the Risk by using Market Research

Market research helps all businesses to promote or improve upon a new product. The better way to do it, is to know what the consumers NEED, so that you can be sure that the product launched is as per the consumers’ expectations.

That is the road to profits – customer satisfaction!

The Five Basic Marketing Objectives

1. Market research, as a business tool, can be used by a wide array of users. Take a look at a couple of marketing objectives that is followed by a majority of successful businesses.

2. Brand Positioning – When we say brand positioning we mean, by using market research your business can get to know its position in the market,, and where it stands as compared to its competitors.

3. Understanding the Target Market – Market research will help you to spot the right target and the best market for your services. This information will help you to create successful marketing campaigns and drive the consumers to make happy-buy decisions.

Isn’t that what your business is all about – great value and great sales?

4. Enhanced Communication and Influential Innovation – The message communicated to the audience must fit into their conviction. Market research helps all innovative businesses to focus on the target, test concepts and create better opportunities in the market. It also helps in identifying the desires, requirements and needs of the consumers in a better way.

5. Facing the Competition – The market is filled with similar businesses. To cope up with the cut-throat competition, you have to stand apart from your business rivals. Using the information collected from intensive market research and relevant strategies can add loads of value to your services and make your products a class apart.

7 Easy Steps to Conducting Your Marketing Research Plan!

Marketing research is a process used by businesses to collect, analyze, and interpret information used to make sound business decisions and successfully manage the business. In other words, it links the consumer to the marketer by providing information that can be used in making marketing decisions (i.e. B2C or B2B). This can not be implemented without the use of a MIS (Marketing Research System) to gather, sort, analyze, evaluate, and distribute needed, timely, and accurate information to marketing decision makers.

Here are the steps to implementing a marketing research process.

1. Ask yourself if there is a real need for marketing research. It’s not only the first step to take but a very critical one as well! Research takes a lot of time due to the overload of secondary information available on the Internet. It’s ideal to think that it takes months or even a year to completely finalize a marketing research agenda. The other factor you will need to consider is the cost of doing it, especially if you hire an agency to do it for you. What you want to compare is the value of the information vs the cost of the information. If the value of the information is worth the cost and time of doing it, then by all means, go for it buddy!

If you’re still unsure, here’s a few quick guides to go by to determine that marketing research is not needed:

a) The information is already available

b) The timing is wrong to conduct marketing research

c) Funds are not available for marketing research

d) Costs outweigh the value of marketing research

2. Define the problem. This is the most important step (assuming you’ve decided to do marketing research). If the problem is incorrectly defined, all else will become wasted effort! Keep in mind that the need to make a decision requires decision alternatives. If there are no alternatives, no decision is necessary. For example, let’s say your sales are down by 30%, therefore becoming a problem with your revenues. Your alternatives may be to see how well ads #2 does compared to ads #1 in terms of sales. Use secondary data sources to develop ideas further into the research.

Here’s a powerful technique to use in order to pinpoint important problems and receive information all in one: create a focus group! Here’s why:

a) it generates fresh ideas

b) allow clients to observe their participants

c) understand a wide variety of issues

d) allow easy access to special respondent groups

3. Establish objectives. Research objectives, when stated effectively, can provide the information needed to solve the problem you have from step 2. All of your objectives should be what you want to study in your market research and specific as possible.

Here’s a quick checklist of what to include in each and every objective:

a) specify from whom information is to be gathered

b) specify what information is needed

c) specify the unit of measurement used to gather information

d) use the respondents’ reference to re-word the question

4. Determine research design. There are 5 different designs you can choose from to get the information you need, such as descriptive, exploratory, causal, and diagnostic research. Descriptive research describe market variables. Exploratory research allows you to get information in an unstructured way. Causal studies is to try to reveal what factor(s) cause some event to happen. Diagnostic research focuses on the sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

5. Choose method of assessing data. Secondary data is more easy to access than primary data, such as online surveys. However, if you are into the traditional way of doing data collection (i.e. telephone, mail, F-2-F), they all still have a place in marketing research. The questionnaire that you present to the respondents must be worded clearly and unbias.

Here’s a few pointers you want to remember when creating the forms for your questionnaire:

a) use nominal, ordinal, interval-Likert, interval-S-D, interval-Stapel, and ratio measurements

b) questions pertaining to each research objective (step 3)

c) questions pertaining to attribute, attitude, or behavior

d) have 1 open-ended question (I would definitely keep this at a minimum, if I were you)

6. Determine sample plan and size. Your sample plan should describe how each sample element is to be drawn from the total population. The sample size tells how many elements of the population should be included in the sample. In other words, the purpose of the sample plan is to give you representativeness, while the sample size gives you accuracy!

Here’s a small but important task to take to prevent or minimize nonsampling errors from occurring: validate your participants by re-contacting!

7. Analyze and report the data. It’s always good to go back and run tests on the information you have to screen out errors that may occur. Once you have all that you need for the research (pie charts, bar graphs, statistics, survey, etc), you want to be sure to create a report of it. Carefully present the research report in a way that communicates the results clearly, yet accurately to the client.

Market Research – Why It Should Be Considered Before/During Prior Art Search

An invention is a set of ideas and thoughts to ease the way people perform their daily tasks. An Inventor can be a business or an individual who has an objective behind the invention. A lot of money is required to present the invention to the world, thus, investors who find it interesting fund the R & D operations.

The invention process is very wide. There is no fix time when an invention is converted into useful products. It can take 5, 10 years or even more. The R & D department performs a series of operations one after another – describing the business vision, creating strategies, describing the R & D processes, identifying resources, and drafting designs. The R & D teams comprehensively study all areas of the invention, collect different ideas, which are then combined to build products and services. Thus, the research to development of invention comprises a wide range of processes, which need thousands or millions of dollars.

Patenting an invention

An invention is patented to prevent it from being theft by others. The inventor can restrict individuals and companies from using his/her invention for making or selling products during its life. When filing a patent application, the inventor needs to mention a set of claims, which he/she should choose carefully. So, it is recommended to know the market trends, new technologies, applications, etc. at the time of performing the R & D operations, which will help in getting great claims.

An invention can only be patented if it doesn’t contain any part of the previously patented technology and meet certain uniqueness standards. To find if your invention is already known or not, prior art search is conducted. The innovator can do prior art search on his/her own, or hire an expert for this purpose.

What is prior art search?

Prior art search can be defined as collecting information about the technologies associated with the invention. It’s main objective is to know whether the invention is patentable or not. Sources of prior art search include previous patents, filed patents, scientific reports, research papers, textbooks, newspapers, journals, and internet publications. There are many inventions that are never used in products and services, and these should also be considered during the patent filing process. On the internet, a wide range of tools are available that can help you conduct an efficient prior art search.

Prior art search can provide details about previous inventions in the field, new products and services, etc. It prevents reinventing the already existing inventions. With this, the R & D department can know the already existing technologies, and focus the activities, processes, and tasks to innovate them or research the new ones.

Know the market well before conducting prior art search

The main objective is to get the invention patented with broadest possible claims. Prior art search collects existing knowledge in the fields that belong to the invention. But, this is not enough. One should know the market and companies that are already working on the technologies the invention is based, which will help in choosing the right areas for R & D.

Patent filing is a broad process, and a little wrong move can convert into a big mistake. Thus, from planning to execution, every step should be put wisely. Before going for prior art search, it is important to know the markets in which the invention can bring revolution in, current market trends to focus on, activities of competitors, etc. All these details can be obtained through market research. Thus, it is recommended to conduct a market research first to know the technologies trending in the market.

Why market research?

Market research can help in proper utilization of all the elements of an invention. It provides comprehensive analysis of different markets associated with the invention, patent environment, and existing and future products. Thus, market research can add value to the research and development operations, making them more advanced.

There are many reasons why the inventor should consider market research before starting R & D operations and prior art search. Please have a look at them -

Detailed information about the markets:

Market research reports not only provide information about different markets that belong to the area of invention, but also tell the top active markets. Suppose, an invention can be used in manufacturing products in 10 different industries, out of which 7 are in the growing phase. Thus, there is need to spend extra time and money to obtain patents in these 7 industries to get maximum ROI. Thus, market research reports can suggest you the right industries to continue research and build products.

Competitor analysis:

To emerge as a leading player in the market, it is necessary to know the activities of competitors. With market research reports, the inventor can get in-depth understanding of his/her competitors, technologies they are working on, and their existing and upcoming products and services. Thus, the R & D department can broaden their research to the areas untouched by the competitors.

Helps in patent drafting:

Patent drafter is the person who can help you get a patent with great claims. With extensive knowledge of market trends, active industries, and customer needs, he can write broadest patent claims possible. Thus, with market research reports, your patent drafter can prepare a clear, accurate patent application, and your get a patent, which will have great market value, and you can earn a lot from it.

Top players:

Market research reports provide information about the top companies using the technologies similar to that of the invention. This makes easy to know how advanced the invention is, the technologies that can be innovated, and how to plan R & D processes. After obtaining the patent with significant claims, the inventor can contact the top companies for business partnerships or licensing.