There are endless possibilities of business ideas that range from products to services. However, prospective entrepreneurs often forget an essential component of their future businesses. They neglect to check if their ideas are feasible to attract a large and sustainable market by conducting marketing research. As a result, promising businesses often crash due to the entrepreneurs’ lack of business panache.
According to ehow contributors, Mrs. Mary White, marketing research is the process of gathering data that can be used to make wise decisions about what products and services to offer, who to market them to, and how to best promote them.
Conducting research allows companies to create products that meet consumer needs effectively, increasing the likelihood of successful product launches and increased profitability.
Market research helps companies to identify consumer needs, create products and services that meet them and improve existing offerings. Additionally, market research allows those tasked with marketing to make wise product packaging and promotional decisions and to develop effective marketing messages. It also allows businesses to identify their market share, as well as that of their competitors.
[b]Importance of Market Research[/b]
Market research is a very important part of a business activity, starting from the time when the company has not even come into existence. Market research is, therefore, imperative for the success of a new business.
According to business experts, researching your market prior to entering is a sound decision for any business owner. Unfortunately, it’s often overlooked and ignored. The results can be a loss of revenue and a slow start.
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All small businesses need to be aware of their market niche and the strengths they bring to the market. Research helps an entrepreneur to be conversant with the operations of the intended business.
[b]Creating a Market Plan[/b]
The Internet is a veritable tool for conducting marketing research. There are sites that provide detailed information on how to conduct researches and even offer research software. Books and business journals are also worth checking out. Local business groups and organizations also offer seminars, talks, and workshops for future entrepreneurs. Always remember that there is no easy way to success, and that effort is necessary to see something to fruition.
Firms that are successful in marketing invariably start with a marketing plan. While large companies have plans with hundreds of pages, small companies can get by with half-dozen sheets. Experts say it’s better to put your marketing plan in a three-ring binder. Refer to it at least quarterly, but better yet monthly. Leave a tab for putting in monthly reports on sales and manufacturing; this will allow you to track performance as you follow the plan.
The plan should cover one year. For small companies, this is often the best way to think about marketing. Things change, people leave, markets evolve, customers come and go. Later on, we suggest creating a section of your plan that addresses the medium-term future–two to four years down the road. But the bulk of your plan should focus on the coming year.
According to them, you should allow yourself a couple of months to write the plan, even if it’s only a few pages long. Executing the plan has its challenges, deciding what to do and how to do it is marketing’s greatest challenge, according to the experts. Most marketing plans kick off with the first of the year or with the opening of your fiscal year if it’s different.
You can’t do a marketing plan without getting many people involved. No matter what your size, get feedback from all parts of your company- finance, manufacturing, personnel, supply and so on — in addition to marketing itself. This is especially important because it will take all aspects of your company to make your marketing plan work. Your key people can provide realistic input on what’s achievable and how your goals can be reached, and they can share any insights they have on any potential, as-yet-unrealised marketing opportunities, adding another dimension to your plan. If you’re essentially a one-person management operation, you’ll have to wear all your hats at one time — but at least the meetings will be short.
[b]Types of Market Research[/b]
The two major types of marketing research are quantitative research and qualitative research, according to experts.
Quantitative research is designed to discover statistical data, such as how many people in certain demographic groups are likely to purchase a particular product or what percentage of current customers are first-time clients. Multiple choice questionnaires and analysis of sales data are examples of quantitative research techniques.
Qualitative research, on the other hand, is designed to provide information about why consumers view products, services, or marketing messages the way they do. Open-ended survey questions and focus groups are examples of qualitative market research.
[b]Benefits of market research[/b]
Your marketing plan gives your troops something to rally behind. You want them to feel confident that the captain of the vessel has the charts in order, knows how to run the ship, and has a port of destination in mind. Companies often undervalue the impact of a marketing plan on their own people, who want to feel part of a team engaged in an exciting and complicated joint endeavor.
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Business experts say if you want your employees to feel committed to your company, it’s important to share with them your vision of where the company is headed in the years to come. People don’t always understand financial projections, but they can get excited about a well-written and well-thought-out marketing plan. You should consider releasing your marketing plan–perhaps in an abridged version–companywide. Do it with some fanfare and generate some excitement for the adventures to come. Your workers will appreciate being involved.
[b]Review your market research[/b]
Ideally, after writing marketing plans for a few years, you can sit back and review a series of them, year after year, and check the progress of your company. Of course, sometimes this is hard to make time for but it can provide an unparalleled objective view of what you’ve been doing with your business life over a number of years.
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