According to the American Marketing Association, marketing research is “the systematic gathering, recording, and analyzing of data about problems relating to the marketing of goods and services.”
Simply put – observe and understand your customers and draw conclusions from what you see.
Every business owner-manager must ask:
• Who are my customers and potential customers? It is not always obvious.
• Can and will they buy?
• Do I offer the kinds of goods or services customers want – providing value?
• Are my prices consistent with what buyers view as the products’ values?
• Are my promotional programs working?
• What do customers think of my business?
• How does my business compare with my competitors?
Marketing research is not a perfect science; it deals with people and their constantly changing likes and dislikes which can be affected by hundreds of influences, many of which simply can’t be identified.
Marketing research does, however, try to learn about markets scientifically. That simply, is to gather facts in an orderly, objective way; to find out how things are, not how you think they are or would like them to be; what people want to buy, not just what you want to sell them.
Why Do It?
It’s tough – impossible – to sell people what they don’t want. That’s obvious. Just as obvious is the fact that nothing could be simpler than selling people what they do need and want. Big business has to do market research to find that out. The same reason holds for small business.
Business owners often have a “feel” for their customers – their markets – that comes from years of experience. Experience can be a two-edged sword.
Information about markets gained from long experience may no longer be timely or relevant.
Marketing research focuses and organized marketing information. It ensures that such information is timely. It provides what you need to:
• Reduce business risks
• Spot problems and potential problems in your current market
• Identify and profit from sales opportunities,
Get basic facts about your market to help you make better decisions and set up plans of action.
“The secret to success is – find out where the people are going and get there first.” – Mark Twain