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Last updateWed, 11 Oct 2017 11am


How to Get Valuable Information from Market Research

I've been running an online business for the past five years. In each of the first four years, I experienced steady growth that was pretty much in line with what I had projected. But in this past year, sales were down considerably.

This decline was not at all expected, nor do I think the lower numbers can be wholly attributed to the weakened economy in general. I need to know the real reasons behind this dropoff so I can take steps to prevent a recurrence. I can handle an internal audit on my own to see if certain business practices are hurting the bottom line, but for a study of external factors, I better turn to market research companies.

If you think only multi-million dollar corporations can afford or benefit from the services provided by market research companies, you're completely wrong. Lots of small and mid-sized businesses take advantage of the data these types of outfits can provide. Market research companies specialize in studying various trends associated with different industries, and as a result, can help you make smart decisions about which direction your business should take. Any business owner who doesn't think this kind of advice is useful probably isn't going to last very long in the ever-changing marketplace.

One of the biggest reasons that data provided by market research companies is so valuable is that most of it comes directly from consumers themselves. Often, market research companies conduct surveys or discussion panels with regular people who use a particular product or service in order to get real, unbiased feedback about every aspect of the purchasing and usage experience. How did the customer hear about the product? What made her want to try it? Why did she buy this brand instead of the other one? How likely would she be to repeat the purchase?

This is very important information that a savvy entrepreneur would love to have access to, and fortunately there are several ways to get this kind of data. First, if your business is in a common industry, then there are likely lots of recent studies and survey results that you can purchase from market research companies across the country. Just make sure that you're buying current, up-to-date information, not something that is too old to be of use. A second way to get your hands on the data you require is to hire one of these market research companies to conduct studies specifically related to your business. This is obviously the more expensive option, but the results you get can end up being worth many times the price you paid for them.

When running a business, one of the keys to success is staying ahead of the curve and having the foresight to anticipate different trends and shifts in the industry or marketplace. Luckily, you don't need a crystal ball to figure this stuff out -- that's what market research companies are for! (TIMExplore.com)

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