Traditionally there are two main types of market research:
1. Quantitative Research
Used when you want to answer how many type questions (i.e. what % of the market is aware of my product/service; or what % of my customers are satisfied). This type of research is usually undertaken via an online, telephone or paper based (face to face/intercept) survey.
2. Qualitative Research
Used when you want to answer why type questions (e.g. why do my customers behave in a certain way; or what would it take for my customers to consider using my services). This type of research is usually undertaken via focus groups and/or depth interviews, but can also include observation/mystery shopping.
Nowadays with so much market research being undertaken online, the lines are becoming increasingly blurred between quantitative and qualitative research. For example, online surveys are often now being used to provide both measurement and in-depth understanding, thereby offering a very affordable and effective research methodology.
Examples of the types of research studies that are most likely to be of interest to small and medium sized businesses and which can be undertaken relatively cost effectively are:
Market Scoping or Product/Service Development
Research among your target market (or if this unknown, the general public) to identify the potential for a new product or service. This type of research helps in identifying and understanding the market that has the best fit with your product or service. It can provide an estimate of the likely uptake of the new product/service, the key product/service attributes that are most important and the type of communication messages that can be used in marketing activities.
Customer Satisfaction Tracking
Conducting regular surveys among existing customers to measure satisfaction levels, to understand the what is causing satisfaction/dissatisfaction, to identify what proportion of your customers may be ‘at risk’ and identifying strategies for customer retention. This type of research is especially invaluable in providing early warning signals, giving the opportunity to fix any product or service issues before customers are lost. If you are striving to provide excellence in customer service then this simple yet highly effective type of research is a must.
Communications Development and Testing
Communications research can be undertaken at any stage of the marketing /communications process, from helping with the creation of concepts and ideas, to the pre-testing of drafted communications, through to post-testing to assess communications effectiveness. Often businesses will be spending thousands of dollars on their marketing activities without really understanding how effective those activities are and what messages they are actually conveying to their potential customers. Communications research can help answers questions like: are my marketing activities reaching the intended audience, what are my communications telling them about my product or service, are the messages credible and relevant, and is there a more effective way to get my message across? All types of communications can be tested including TV, radio, print and online.
The cost to undertake the types of research outlined above will vary, with the key determinant of cost being the methodology required and the target audience. The cost of conducting research should always be balanced against the likely return that it will provide. In making this decision you need to consider: What will happen if you don’t obtain accurate information you need. Can you just go on ‘gut feel’? Can you afford to get it wrong?
Market Research Consultations & Plans
Before deciding to undertake market research there are a myriad of things to think about and make decisions on. For example:
Does the information I need already exist?
What is the best way to gather the required information?
Do I need quantitative or qualitative information?
Who should I be talking to?
What are the most important things I need to find out about?
What is the likely cost going to be?
Market Research Consultation
To help you work through these decisions we can provide a market research consultation session. This involves a tailored one hour session with a senior market research professional.
Cost (excl. GST): $150 + GST.
Market Research Plan
Following on from an initial consultation session, we are able to provide a formal Research Plan. This document will formulate the research objectives and provide a recommended research approach, methodology and sample. It will also outline the types of analysis and outputs that would be most useful and the cost to conduct the research (with various options provided as appropriate). Cost (excl. GST): $350 + GST.
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