Ask Your Target Market

Get inside the minds of your target market with AYTM's intuitive
online survey tool - the first affordable Internet survey software with a built-in consumer panel. Use the online survey creator to build your survey, define the criteria of your target market, and watch the results begin to pour in immediately.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Market Research Simply Put

Market research, simply put, is an organized method of collecting data (opinions, needs and behaviors) from a specific demographic to identify market size, viability of product or services, and current need in the market place. The collected data is then used in strategic marketing plans, ad campaigns, creative design processes, as well as placement or repositioning in the market to gain a competitive edge. The efficacy of market research is dependent on many variables -the person constructing the market research, the conduit, the ability to analyze results and the follow-through.

Businesses use market research for many reasons; it is important that you follow the golden rule: “Begin with the end in mind.” Define your need, develop your research plan, determine your platform and deliver to your target market. Once you have your data you need to decide what you are going to do with it; this is where the real work begins. Strategically align your marketing plan or new business venture using what you have learned from your target market as a guideline.

There are various types of market research. The most important factor is choosing which type aligns with your goal of achieving the most valuable data. That goal is to define the “pain” in your market, further translating into increasing your bottom line. Let’s take a look at the various market research options.

Primary research is a term used to describe collecting data/information to meet your specific needs; secondary research is gathering information readily available through various resources. Despite the name references, secondary research is usually the starting point to gain a better understanding of just “who” your target market may be and what their needs are.

Looking more closely at Primary research, it is divided into two categories, qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative research reaches out to your market usually through in-person focus groups, via video response or surveys with open-ended questions allowing freedom of expression on the given topic. Focus groups (in person) should be conducted by a professional and are cost prohibitive for SMB’s and startups. Using online platforms that allow for video responses from a panel is an excellent alternative and only a fraction of the cost.
Quantitative research collects data with numerical significance providing statistical analysis, and is more commonly used. The advantages of quantitative research are - it is less costly, easier to administer and take less time to complete. It is imperative that you become familiar with the best practices when constructing a survey to achieve optimal results.

The evolution of the Internet has had a great impact on the way market research is conducted today. The added channels of communication via email, blogging, social networks and SaaS, operating in a “cloud”, has opened doors for conducting surveys to both B2B and B2C demographics online. No longer does a company have to shell out thousands of dollars to a market research firm to reach their target demographic. With a few clicks of a mouse, and some basic knowledge on how to write an effective survey, they’re on their way without emptying their pockets.

Traditional market research can cost in the thousands, while DIY online platforms afford you the opportunity to create and launch a basic survey for much less. Whether you're trying to validate a business concept for viability, get opinions on creative materials, or rebranding your business, educate yourself and explore your online options before picking up the phone.

If you would like to speak to someone directly about using AYTM for your market research, please visit our contact page.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

AskYourTargetMarket is Web 2.0 Launch Pad Finalist!

Five Companies Selected to Present on Stage and Receive Real-Time Audience Feedback.
The five finalists were selected from over 80 submissions based on their innovation and value to market. Each finalist will present for five minutes in front of Web 2.0 Expo's audience and judging panel of industry experts who will provide real-time feedback. Web 2.0 Expo's panel of judges includes: Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb, Dave McClure of 500 Hats and Ellen Pack of Elance. Brady Forrest, Web 2.0 Expo Co-Chair, will emcee the program.
"We want to congratulate Launch Pad finalists for their innovation in the Web 2.0 market," said Brady Forrest, Web 2.0 Expo Co-Chair. "This year's Launch Pad competition received over 80 submissions and the industry enthusiasm of all participating companies is notable. Judges selected companies that are transforming the market and will demonstrate promising applications relevant to the Web 2.0 Expo audience."
The following five companies will present at Web 2.0 Expo's Launch Pad on Wednesday, May 5 at 1:15 pm:

Additionally, Startup Weekend is an event where individuals come together to build a product and sometimes a company in two short days. A winner is chosen at the end of the event and this year's Launch Pad will include that winner on stage along with the five selected Launch Pad finalists.
A People's Choice Winner will be announced on-site at Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco. Audience members will be asked to vote for their top choice based on the demos.
Votes will be tabulated in real-time and projected live on screen. All presenters are Launch Pad winners and benefit from the instantaneous feedback provided by the judging panel and the audience.
To learn more about the 2010 Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco or register visit:

Monday, April 19, 2010 co-sponsored Startup Weekends!

Boulder Startup Weekends &

The past few days were very special for us. We were honored to co-sponsor StartupWeekend in Boulder, CO and Dallas, TX.

Here's my experience in a few words:
There were 35-40 smart talented people in one room (most meeting each other for the first time), sparked by tsunami-entrepreneurship-tech-energy-spirit, Wi-Fi, a bunch of Macbook Pros in the room = AWESOME 3 day event.

Boulder Startup Weekends &

After a dozen of pitches on Friday, the group voted for the best business idea and formed teams around the most interesting people and startup concepts. Friday night, Saturday and Sunday morning were used to define the business model, come up with strategies, marketing, logo, slogans and building prototype sites with some working functionality, preparing decks and polishing pitches.
Boulder Startup Weekends &

Boulder Startup Weekends &

On Sunday by 3:30 teams started presenting their projects and the judges selected the winners. Now it's up to the teams to use this steroid start and build real profitable companies or just keep in touch with new friends and move forward.

Boulder Startup Weekends &

Boulder Startup Weekends &

Boulder Startup Weekends &

Our goal was to help teams to use our online survey tool during the event to get real world feedback on their concepts and assumptions. As expected - it went very well! We sponsored a few surveys and got back awesome stats that helped teams to shift some priorities, confirm some expectations and make the right decisions. Interesting fact: the event's format put everybody in a very stressful time frame, but in reality, if you can't do it in 48 hours and on 0 budget - you may never be able to pull it off! "Be successful or fail fast" is the best advice the startups received this weekend. definitely succeeded in delivering the valuable data right there and then. All surveys were fulfilled within 90 minutes (150 responses with open-ended answers) and gave them immediate nationwide US consumer feedback.

I'm happy and excited to see our company helping entrepreneurs find their groove, and help such awesome events to be more successful and meaningful. We made new friends, did some usability testing watching people using our system, and definitely had a great time!

For more information:
twitter hash tag: @swBoulder
All photos

CEO and Co-founder

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Agile Market Research

We live in a time when ideas for products and services can be acted upon with a fraction of the cost and resources required even a few short years ago. With an eye on fast time to market, passionate entrepreneurs are often tempted to "code first, ask questions later". Its not that entrepreneurs don't want every advantage possible, they just don't always realize the need to validate concepts that seem so clear to them. Especially in these times of rapid development cycles it's easy to forget how slowing down a bit to conduct market research can actually help companies go further, faster. The right use of research can identify opportunity (features and functions that hadn't yet come to mind) as well as save time and reduce risk (guess we didn't need to code that XYZ feature - looks like nobody needs it) and make a tremendous impact on the company success.

Lean startup model suggests validating business idea with as little resources as possible. Is there a conflict between this model and a need to invest thousands of dollars in the research before implementation? You bet there is if you think about classic market research that costs an arm and a leg, takes a few weeks and is typically very complex to conduct. By the time you get your results you may break your budget and loose the momentum. What works for the large corporations is not always an answer for the startups and small businesses.

The good news is that market research evolves as rapidly as other services and available today in the same agile affordable style that became a standard of Web 2.0. Leveraging social networks and power of internet enables market research providers to help companies to set up and complete their studies at a fraction of the classical cost and within a few hours/days. Using this new trend you can wake up at night with your brilliant business idea, write and launch a survey and by morning get responses from US consumers that fit your target market demographic profile. Business validation and market research becomes available for the rest of us and can help at many stages of your business' lifecycle.
So we know that there are different stages in a company lifecycle. Different research strategies and techniques are effective for each stage and can help finding you the best odds that lead to the success. Here are some stages of research to consider:

Phase 1: Idea Exploration
Many disruptive or innovative ideas get their start by understanding the latent or unmet needs of a particular group. Latent needs are those that often aren't seen as a need by end users - they are seen as a problem or an annoyance. They often don't know that a solution is possible. In this stage of research it's important to observe and ask questions, the problems you uncover might be bigger issues than the one you had already identified. Consider the days before camera phones - people still enjoyed taking pictures but they didn't always have a camera available when they needed it. They often experienced photo worthy events when they didn't have a camera handy. They had a latent need to be able to take photos more often. What did they have with them? Car keys, wallet and their cell phone. Hence, adding a camera to one of these would help solve the unmet need.

Phase 2: Idea Validation
Ok - you proved that there is a pain and that your concept may solve it - hence there is got to be a business opportunity. Check how large it is and what's the best way of approaching the market with your innovation. You can do that before you have your first customer and/or before the first line of code is written. Your objective here is to get a broad test reaction to the idea and to learn who the target market really is. Also known as a concept test. You don't always need to have something to show at this stage - it's often best to simply explain the basic part of the concept and leave out the details until they have a good idea of the core of the idea.
Important to understand more than just appeal of a concept.
A thorough concept test often includes digging into questions such as:
· Is it appealing?
· Does it satisfy a need?
· Is it unique and different?
· Is it believable - this will work?
· Does it offer value for money?

Phase 3: Continuous User feedback.
Your alpha or beta is live and you have your first adopters Congratulations, if you made it here equipped with research knowledge you have made your first investment with much higher chances for success than an average startup. It's time to ask your first users' feedback – create feedback loop and also don't forget to re-test broad market to see if concept has evolved to appeal to a broader audience or if an unexpected market sector is even more interested in your service/product than the one you are targeting. While getting feedback from existing customers can be done "in house" you will need some external market research tools to get access to the fresh outside look at your offering.

Phase 4: Logo and branding research
You're lucky if your first name and logo are well received but in most cases we just don't have enough time and recourses to do it right from the beginning. If the model turned out to be a failure, then who cares if you have a killer logo. This is a good time to look around and see if your corporate identity, logo, branding, name of the company, site name are conveying the right messages and helping you to build a stronger brand. You don't have many users yet so it's not too late for a redesign.
Use hybrid - existing users and outside consumers research to choose the best logo and build a strong brand. Get to know what to say and how to say it, get used to the new infrastructure you just created and about to explode to a larger scale.

Phase 5: Brand extension and new product development
Exploring ideas that build on original product or support adjacent and complementary markets, helping solve sudden crises and keep growing. It's a good time to introduce more complex market research solutions, dedicate larger budgets and hiring professional consultants. You have the big boys to compete with and you have a good chance of beating them if you are smarter about exploring new ideas.

Lev Mazin

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ask Your Target Market - Spring Release!

We love our early adopters!
Thanks to your advice and encouragement we have added loads of new features, emerged out of beta and continue growing fast. We'd like to share some exciting news with you!

Since our closed beta we have doubled our consumer panel capacity. Now you can launch your survey and expect it to be completed in just a couple of hours. More complicated requests with narrow demographics, etc., will take longer, but it's still blazing fast. Give it a try >>

You can now create branched logic (skip logic) surveys. It enables you to ask a unique follow-up question based upon the answer chosen to the prior question.Drill down and really understand your target customers for the same low price. Check out a sample live stats report here.

We are pleased to announce that you can now easily publish the results of your survey by embedding our widget into your site or blog. Just go to the statistics of your completed or in-progress survey, adjust the widget width and grab the embed code. See an example >>

Speaking about capacity: our 100% US consumer panel members have answered close to 5 million surveys. In our commitment to excellence we have incorporated many unique quality assurance features such as TrustScore and DoubleCheckd. Learn more >>

Sunday, February 21, 2010

AskYourTargetMarket – Surveys of Targeted Market Panels for $30

by Craig Agranoff

There are a lot of survey tools out there and the Internet has made conducting and getting survey results easier than ever. Market research aimed at specific markets or demographics, however, aren’t as easy. This valuable information usually requires a lot of know-how and money to get.

Not anymore. has publicly launched after having been in private beta since appearing at the TechCrunch50 in 2009. This tool allows you to quickly and easily build surveys and narrow a target market of focused responders.

The entire app narrows down to a fairly straight-forward dashboard from which you can build your survey and desired demographics/market. You start with a page of simple selections to be made, using sliders and drop-down boxes. Age and income ranges are on sliders, for instance, while race, education, and so forth are drop-downs.

You then use a slider to choose the number of responses you’d like (starting at 50 and going up to 400). Then you’re ready to write your survey.

AskYourTargetMarket can do both straight surveys (a list of questions that everyone is asked) or a Branched Logic survey, for which different answers move to different questions. This allows for some real depth to your survey.

Finally, you can choose to have your survey DoubleCheckd. With this, AskYourTargetMarket will wait for three or more hours after your survey has been given to the panelists and then give it to them again (they won’t know it’s coming a second time). Only those surveys which have like answers on both sessions will be considered valid. This can increase accuracy in many scenarios.

Overall, the AskYourTargetMarket tool is extremely useful for most businesses. The results can be valuable and the price tag at $29.95, to start, is definitely affordable.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Tiger Woods Apology

Have you been paying attention to the Tiger Woods saga?

Since Thanksgiving night, it has been a part of sports casts and news casts, worldwide.

Even if you aren't a sports or golf fan, you've heard of Tiger Woods and know who he is: a global icon.

We decided to do a survey, split by men and women, and see how the respondents from our consumer panel feel about his press conference on Friday February 19. Their demographics are aged 21-65, all incomes levels, education, professions and races.

The results are surprising to me!

Here are the questions:

Should Tiger have apologized to the public?

Was his apology sincere and convincing to you?

Should Elin forgive him?

Do you forgive Tiger?

The women’s answers

The men’s answers

Tell us what you think!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tip: Surveys about pricing

Don’t give people a list of prices to choose from when trying to test what the market will bear. It’s only natural for consumers to choose the lowest price!
It’s their job to find the best products and services at the lowest cost.
Instead, you can research how much they currently pay for similar things.

Also consider ways to research the price “difference” between one product or service and another. Think of this example –you could ask if consumers would pay $5 for a latte that has antioxidants. But if the normal latte is $4.50 you could ask – would consumers pay an EXTRA 50cents to add antioxidants to the latte they were already planning on purchasing.

Pricing research is different than testing the reaction of a product or service that has the price disclosed. Many companies say they want to conduct pricing research when they really just want to know if consumers will actually BUY their product or service at a price that still leaves a little room for overhead and profit. If you don’t expect your product or service to be priced differently than similar offerings you might want to focus more on testing features and key messages than on asking consumers what they would be willing to pay. Asking about price before you understand consumers level of interest can be misleading. A consumer who has little or no need for something will torpedo even your lowest price survey option, not because of the price but because they aren’t the ideal target consumer for your offer. Understanding consumers reactions to unique features or functions will help you develop messages that appeal to the kind of customers who will be willing to pay a reasonable price for your product or service.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Vator Splash competition

Ask Your target Market was among 10 finalist, who were chosen to present on stage! We want to thank all of our supporters who cast their votes to help us win!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tip: Don't ask your main question right away

Ok. You’ve kept it short and simple. You’ve got a great product or service in mind and you want to see how well-received it’s going to be, so your first question is probably “Here’s my brilliant idea - would you buy it?” Stop right there. Don’t ask people the direct question unless you are sure respondents are ready for it. You may get discouraged by receiving negative feedback just because people don’t get it or don’t realize that your product/service/idea can help them.

Remember - you have spent long hours thinking about your creation but your survey respondents are just discovering it. Try to figure out their behaviors, or their usage of similar products/services. For instance, don’t ask “would you be interested in buying my product?”, but rather “do you currently use a similar product, how often, in which circumstances, and would you appreciate such-and-such improvements on it?”. Ease your way up to the big question.

Try to learn something about the respondents that will help you separate those who might be interested from those who aren't. Are they male/female? Do they already purchase something similar or would this be their first purchase in this category? Many research respondents hesitate to say they will definitely buy something that they have only just learned about – it's a little too fast. They are more comfortable honestly telling you whether they would or would not be interested in learning more about it. Understanding if you got their attention and WHY is often more useful than going for the killer question of “Will you buy it?”.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tip: Keep it simple

Keep questions brief and easy to digest. was designed with the power of simplicity and quick turnaround in mind, so it’s easy to write for you, and easy to answer for our consumer panel members.

People tend to lose their focus when reading long copy… so the shorter it is, the more chances you have to communicate your question and get meaningful answers.

Don’t use your industry-specific jargon that your target market may not be familiar with. Keep language neutral to make sure you are getting responses to your questions, not responses to the tone of the copy.

Keep in mind that research is meant to be continuous and iterative – an ongoing dialogue of sorts.
Give consumers small, easy to understand “bite size” pieces of copy to be sure they are reacting to your ideas – not to their lack of interest in long winded survey questions.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Why we created

Most people at some point in their lives have dreamed of becoming entrepreneurs.

Many friends of mine have their own "million-dollar-idea", but they never can be sure that the concept is viable until they execute it. To try the idea they have to raise funds, use all their savings, quit their jobs, etc., which can lead to success but, more often leads to a complete failure.

Big companies use expensive market research firms to reduce their risks and make better business decisions. While several thousand dollars is nothing for big companies, it's usually out of the question for most people dreaming of their own startups.

Asking friends and family their opinions is the most common first (and often only) step that bootstrap entrepreneurs take. Unfortunately, it's not a very good platform to use to make major business decisions. Here's why: first off, friends and family members may not represent the target audience the idea is designed for. Second - 'friends and family' is a very limited network that can't represent a neutral nationwide opinion. Finally - these people may not be honest in their feedback in an effort to be encouraging, or at least not offensive.

So, many potentially great ideas never get off the ground just because traditional market research services are financially out of reach and home-made alternatives are just not reliable.

David and I had a similar problem with the Facebook app we were building 2 years ago. We spent quite some time developing awesome functionality and driving users to the app, put a great deal of money and effort into tons of cool innovative features, and yet it didn't take off as we had expected.

Our endless "to do or not to do" discussions were mostly intuition and logic driven, but often ended up being very far from actual users' demand. We were quite frustrated and wished there was a simple and affordable way to ask potential users what they would appreciate the most in the app before we ever started development and spent any time on it. We looked around and were amazed that there was no tool out there affordable enough that we could use.

At that point we realized that this situation can and should be changed. That's how was born!


Lev Mazin