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In any profession you will find that most companies have their own specific language made up of abbreviations and acronyms --words or phrases that only they understand. This is especially true with market research professionals. They have big words for almost every part of the business including their market research surveys. There are 2 major classifications for the types of questions:
Quantitative: The hard facts - "How many people would buy this?" "How many people would try that?"
Qualitative: Opened ended data that tries to understand what people feel or think about a product.
If you are in charge of creating market research surveys it would be in your best interest to collect data from both of these angles. This way you can create an extremely accurate marketing strategy that will cover all of the consumer bases.
Getting the right people to talk to about the product is only half the battle when it comes to Market Research. You need to ask questions that really cover every possible thing you'd want to know about your audience. Things like:
Market research focus groups are comprised of regular folks like you and me. The goal is to get a group of these everyday people in a room and expose them to a new product. After they read the information and test or taste the product, they are asked to give their honest opinion. For this meeting any information you provide is critical.
The material should be written so that it clearly explains the product in a clear and precise manner. It should also engage the participants. But don't go overboard. Adding too much of a sales pitch might backfire, and some focus group members could view the product and/or company as phony, which could result in negative opinions.
Say your Market Research Company was chosen to create a marketing strategy for a new “breakfast on the go” sandwich. In this case, it would be best to create a market research survey first. You definitely want to understand the benefits of why they would need "breakfast on the go."
For this type of survey not every person will do. You would need to qualify your recipients a bit and talk to people who would fit the target demographic -- in this case, college students and commuters. You want to make sure that you are getting the right questions to the right people. Target the individuals that will eventually buy this product.
Can't make a square peg fit in a round hole? That has never been more true when it comes to market research analysis. When doing market research surveys you are measuring the public perception of a good or service. There's no magic spell that can conjure up the exact results you are looking for.
If you try and fudge the numbers it will only wind up hurting your strategy plan in the long run. It's best to get everything out on the table in the beginning. If the results are not what you expected, then the survey results allow you to deal with a change of plans or create a new strategy at a much earlier stage.
There is always one person who struggles with telling a good story. They might meander in a hundred different directions before the story is through, and in the end you have absolutely no idea what they were talking about. The best stories are ones that are not only interesting, but stick to one train of thought. You should keep this mind if you are working on a market research program.
Go with single thought ideas like “Student Spending.” Market research for student spending is a good topic for any research project. It's relevant to people in college. Plus, market research companies can also use this data for almost any other consumer good projects they do. It can be done on a national or regional level.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|