Before a business can begin market research, it must identify its target market. This can be done through marketing or research. In both cases, the process begins with gathering information and interpreting data. It may involve using both primary and secondary sources. It can help a business determine which products and services will be the most popular and profitable. It can also identify new locations for expansion. Here are some basic steps to take in the initial stages of market research.
The first step in conducting market research is to define the scope of the research. Primary market research is based on the collection of original data and is intended to address the specific information needs of a business. Secondary market-research focuses on existing data and examines more general questions. These sources can include government reports, chambers of commerce, ratings agencies, and consumer surveys. Regardless of the type of research, the goal is to understand the customer, its needs, and the competitive landscape.
Market research can be carried out at any time, but it is often most successful when carried out at a crossroads in a company's history. Generally, a business will need to make a decision in a critical time period, or at a pivotal point in its evolution. It is important to note that market research is not a one-size-fits-all solution; a business can collect both primary and secondary data, as well as gather information on the competition, to ensure the most successful business strategy.