A market study starts with an objective or a set of objectives that guides the selection of a methodology and research respondents, who in turn may be identified by segments according to the information required. When the respondents have been identified, recruited, exposed to the product, and questioned about their preferences and opinions, analysis follows. The results are then evaluated, interpreted, and used to create the best strategy for a marketing plan.
Some market research firms would have their own methods for doing a market study. BrandLab, for example, enlists the services of anthropologists to conduct ethnographic studies on people in places where they live to get a first-hand feel of their behavior and thinking patterns. Satisfind, on the other hand, specializes in customer satisfaction measurement - popularly known as mystery shopping - while its sister company, Consumer Vibe, focuses on other types of research.
Brad Geiser of Geiser-Maclang Communications believes neophyte entrepreneurs may need market research companies only when they really don\\\'t have the time to do it themselves. "I strongly recommend for new entrepreneurs that they make the time. Market research is an incredibly powerful tool for listening and really understanding who your customers are, what your customers aren\\\'t, and why?"
BrandLab\\\'s Ortega says the best way for new entrepreneurs to study their market is by interviewing the people closest to them: "Talk around and discuss whether [the business is viable] or not. [Over] lunch and coffee is the cheapest way of doing research. You talk to people in [a certain] category and be surprised that a lot of them are willing to share information," he says. "These are practical things [new entrepreneurs] could do. When you have formed your opinion, that\\\'s when you bring in the researchers to help validate or advance the idea."
SIZING UP AND SEGMENTING YOUR MARKET
How much are you willing to pay someone who can tell you off hand - and accurately so - how big your market is and its earning potential for your business? Having a clear idea of your market, how big it is, its needs and preferences, and how you can serve them, are stakes that can fasten your enterprise firmly in the business arena.