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How To Conduct Market Research – 5 Easy Steps

April 28, 2011

Whether you’re running a Phoenix public relations campaign, or a Scottsdale advertising campaign, every marketing plan must be preceded by market research. There is not much point to running an advertising campaign targeted at the wrong demographic, or sending the wrong message, and not totally communicating valuable information that will lead to referrals and sales. At Quaintise, market research ranks high on our priorities to creating a successful public relations and/or advertising campaign.


What is Market Research?


Many business owners are not even aware of how powerful market research can be. Understanding your audience, your target demographic, is crucial to creating a powerful and effective marketing plan. Market research is much like sentiment analysis, as we’ve talked about before, in that the ultimate goal is to gather as much information as possible about how an audience feels about your product, brand, company, or industry.


Take a walk back in time to when you were younger, strolling through the mall. Remember those wonderful surveyors from the past that would stand at the entrances of the mall with clipboard in hand, waiting to pounce, to ask you a hundred questions about products? Or those late night and weekend phone calls from young men and women wanting to know how you feel about certain products and brands? It wasn’t so long ago that market research was conducted solely through direct conversation.


Conducting Market Research


The techniques for conducting market research have changed over the years. While there are still market research groups and the occasional phone calls, today we include things like online surveys, social media sentiment monitoring, email questionnaires, and overall internet analysis. There are some pertinent structure steps that should be followed, however, when conducting market research:


1. Defining Goals – What is your definitive goal? Before going into the techniques and strategies of market research, you’ll need to completely understand what you want out of it. What type of information are you looking for? Do you want to know how to increase sales, increase brand awareness, or increase traffic? Having an end goal for your entire marketing plan begins with having a strategic objective for your market research.


2. Define Audience – As with defining your goals, you’ll need to understand exactly who you want to survey. You’ll also want to split that target audience up into segments for quantitative analysis.


Your audience might consist of men and women, young and old, married or single, parents and pet owners, middle-class and upper-class. Each fragment of your target population should be classified. This will make things easier when it comes to sorting through all of the analysis at the end of the day.


3. Designing the Research Plan – After you’ve come to a strong standing on your objectives and who you will target, you’ll want to spend some time on creating the actual research plan. Since this is where you’ll get all of you information from, you’ll need it to be spot on. The research can be conducted through many different techniques; however each strategy must be clear and concise, must be conducted so as not to bias the audience, and must be consisted throughout each research medium.


4. Consistency & Bias – Like with any survey, poll, or questionnaire, bias and inconsistency is always a concern. Make sure that all members of your market research team are briefed and on the same page. When conducting face-to-face interviews, be aware of how the questions are asked, the tone of the speaker, and the atmosphere. If conducting market research through sentiment analysis on social networks and blogs, be sure to have consistent keywords and focus.


Many times, the way that you form a question within a survey, the exact words that you use, can sway an answer without intention. At Quaintise, we use a bit of semantic research to determine the most effective words to use to elicit a response without bias.


5. Interpretation – The final step is interpreting all of the information you have gathered. The market research might have gone on for a few days, it might have gone on for a month. Either way, there will be a lot of information to categorize. Having a skilled interpreter, like those at Quaintise, will help you to place all of the results into charts and graphs, making it easier to understand.