Many small owners carry out market research using different methods and techniques.
While we are going to talk about the most successful methods that can be used to carry out a research namely, personal interviews, focus groups, surveys, observation and product test.
Interviews are among the widely used methods in market research. An interview is a verbal conversation that follows a clearly laid down procedure and objectives.
In research an interview can be done personally, that is having it one-on-one conversation with your targeted customers. During the interview ask only about the product or service and how it will benefit them (your targeted customers).
Open ended questions are widely used today, open ended questions are questions that do not have a specific answer, they are not a yes or no type of questions.
Interviews also provide another side of the business, you get to know how customers behave and their attitude towards the product or service.
A neutral venue and locations mostly at a facility with video and sound recording is considered ideal as a deeper insight into the group's response to questions, attitude and emotions towards a product or service can be analyzed again and again.
Focus groups and interviews at times do not show the real scenario that is happening on the ground. Taking an observation is a very good method that can also to be used.
When you observe customers in action through video tapes in stores, shops and at work places, you can learn how they buy, how they use the product and which group of individuals buys your product most.
When planning to carry a survey a well designed questionnaire is needed, you can have a sample group that represents your targeted market. The bigger the sample the more accurate the results will be.
On-line surveys are cost effective and can reach a wider audience when caring out market research, but caution should be taken as the results are likely to be unrealistic and may not represent the responses of your target market.
Person-to-person or one-on-one interviews are typically conducted in high traffic locations such as gas stations, and shopping malls. They provide an opportunity to present and test the product,packaging and advertising. You gather the feed back immediately. Person-to-person surveys can have more than 85% response, but they are expensive to administer.
Mail surveys are inexpensive to administer and reach your targeted audience. They are cheap as compared to Person-to-person interviews, they are very good especially small businesses. But the response rate is less than 5%.
Telephone surveys are a key element in market research. Telephone surveys follow laid down questions and are relatively cheap to carry out and can be done from one place, but caution must be taken as most people are obsessed with telephone advertising. The success rate is about 50%.
Product test is the most successful research marketing tool and it gives clear indication of whom your targeted customers are and how they react to the product or service being developed. This can be achieved by placing the product on the shelf of a supermarket or in a shopping mall.