Good business decisions based on getting facts

Done properly, market research can help create successful advertising and communications strategies.

As the business world becomes more complex and competitive with each quarter, it becomes increasingly important to have good factual information to make decisions about the direction your business must take. In order to be able to make the right decisions the best way to gather this needed information is to develop a market research plan.

Done properly, market research can help you create successful advertising and communications strategies, keep tabs on what your competition is up to and help in the development of new products or services to address the changing marketplace.

The level of research that you undertake will be governed by a number of factors. This is determined by the amount and nature of the research you require and of course how much time and budget you have.

If you only need some basic customer information it is relatively easy to develop simple research tools such as customer satisfaction questionnaires or by searching through statistical information and demographic data that is readily available from local sources or via the Internet. If you require more specialized, proprietary research that delves deeper into your customer or target group base, it is best to consider turning to a professional marketing firm or individual.

Before you start collecting information though it is essential that you clearly define what you need to know and why you need it. Referring back to your strategic plan and business plans will help you develop a set of questions that will point you in the right direction.

For example: Do you have a good handle on your customers’ profile? Which of your products or services are most successful? Who do you think your competitors are, and what are their weaknesses and strengths? For that matter, what are your own strengths and weaknesses? Do you know what trends are affecting sales in your business?

These questions only touch the tip of the proverbial iceberg in terms of what direction your research will take. If you are not familiar with research and research methodology, there is an incredible amount of information available online that can help you determine where you want your research to take you.

For starters there are two broad types of research that you can use, primary and secondary. This might sound like Research 101 but it is well worth it to keep these in mind even if you are a seasoned research user.

Primary research is the kind of information that is gathered through your own efforts or by a hired researcher. This is done using questionnaires, personal surveys, holding focus group sessions and observation. This kind of information can give you answers to specific questions, such as what are the factors that influence the purchase of your kind of products? Are there new products or services I can offer? The biggest advantage with this kind of research is that you can be very specific and the information gathered will be proprietary.

Secondary research is less targeted but it can provide valuable answers to some key questions that would be hard or expensive to gather through primary research. Questions such as what are the current trends affecting your particular business? What is happening in the local economy? Are there enough people in my target group living within my geographic region?

Having the right research with a good set of facts is the key to making good business decisions. It can help you avoid critical mistakes but most importantly lead you to greater success.

Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email at joesmith@shaw.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two vehicles collided Wednesday morning north of Courtenay on the Old Island Highway. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Two-car MVA north of Courtenay

Accident took place after 7 a.m. on the Old Island Highway

COVID cases in the Bella Coola Valley have dropped to just four active cases (file photo)
Comox Valley COVID spike the result of ‘a series of multiple social gatherings’

North Island Medical Health Officer Dr. Charmaine Enns says the recent spike… Continue reading

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

A 19-year-old man is in police custody following a recent violent robbery and assault in Comox . (File photo)
Arrest made in violent robbery and assault of Comox gas station employee

A 19-year old man is in police custody following a recent violent… Continue reading

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Fisheries and Oceans Canada fish-health audit at a farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. The BC Salmon Farmers Association is asking Ottawa for renewed discussions with stakeholders and First Nations to allow for an equitable agreement on the government-ordered departure from the Discovery Islands. (Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward photo)
B.C. salmon farmers request more time to leave Discovery Islands

DFO’s current deadline will lead to the cull of 10.7-million young fish

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Comox Valley entrepreneur develops clean drinking water system

‘We will use our privilege to help those less fortunate.’ It’s a… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (Contributed to Kamloops This Week)
B.C. teen in turtleneck, lace-edged dress sent home from school for ‘inappropriate’ outfit

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson was told the lace on the garment made it look like a slip dress

Seagulls and other marine birds packed the shoreline at Kye Bay in March (2020), as the herring roe provided a feast for the feathered community. Photo by Terry Farrell
MARS Moment: Herring spawn to produce increased marine life activity near shoreline

Jane Thomson Special to Black Press Wild times are coming to a… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks left wing Antoine Roussel (26) tries to get a shot past Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks cough up 3-0 lead, fall 4-3 to visiting Edmonton Oilers

Vancouver falls to 8-13-2 on the NHL season

Jessica McCallum-Miller receives her signed oath of office from city chief administrative officer Heather Avison on Nov. 5, 2018 after being elected to Terrace City Council. McCallum-Miller resigned on Feb. 22, 2021, saying she felt unsupported and unheard by council. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace’s 1st Indigenous councillor resigns citing ‘systemic and internalized racism,’ sexism

McCallum-Miller said in a Facebook post she felt unheard and unsupported by council

Temporary changes to allow for wholesale pricing for the hospitality industry were implemented June 2020 and set to expire March 31.	(Pixabay photo)
Pubs, restaurants to pay wholesale prices on liquor permanently in COVID-recovery

Pre-pandemic, restaurateurs and tourism operators paid full retail price on most liquor purchases

The 2021 YANA Big Love Benefit will be a live-streamed event, including an online auction. Photo by McKinnon Photography
COVID restrictions force changes to YANA Big Love Benefit

Ongoing provincially-imposed COVID-19 restrictions have forced a late change in YANA’s largest… Continue reading

Wade Dyck with Luna, a dog who went missing near the Chasm for 17 days following a rollover on Feb. 5. (Photo submitted).
Dog missing for 17 days through cold snap reunited with owner in northern B.C.

Family ecstatic to have the Pyrenees-Shepherd cross back home.

Most Read