Collecting Market Research

There are countless avenues to approach market research. Two great methods that I have discovered for collecting data are surveys and observation.

Surveys are great tools as they can be tailored to gather specific details from individual groups. Something to keep in mind with surveys is the larger the group is that is sampled the more reliable the data will be.

There are many different ways to implement a survey. The In-person survey is doing one-on-one interviews with random individuals in high-traffic areas such as a shopping complex. Here products, packaging or advertising samples are presented and the immediate feedback is collected. While In-person surveys generate great results they can be very expensive when the time and labor is factored in. In some cases individuals surveyed are compensated as well.

Other survey forms are telephone, mail and online surveys. It is not surprising to find that telephone surveys do not produce a great response, as customers are often very resistant to participate in the survey. They are also less expensive than in-person surveys but more costly that mail surveys. Telephone surveys also yield a higher response rate compared to mail or online surveys. Mail surveys are considered a more cost effective route. While a mail survey will have a low response rate, many small business choose to go this direction. Finally, online surveys typically don’t generate accurate data. In most cases launching a survey on the “world wide web” makes collecting data from a target group very difficult. It is difficult to control “who” is participating in the survey. Regardless, an online survey is a simple, economical method to gather subjective data and collect opinions and preferences.

Observation is another great way to gather an individual’s response to a product, advertisement, packaging, etc. One of the greatest advantages to this technique is that the individual is unaware that they are being observed. This allow for individuals to interact naturally in their surroundings, giving a natural and in some cases unconscious response. When individuals are observed, in some cases videotaped, in stores, at home, or at work, observations can be made directly by how a product is bought or used. This is very useful, as it gives a more accurate picture of customer’s usage habits and shopping patters.


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