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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.