Conducting effective market research can be one of the most important things you can do as a business, ensuring that you are heading down the right track as far as your customers – both existing and potential – are concerned.
Topics can cover anything from new products that are about to launch to the possible outcomes of marketing ideas and how current services could be improved upon. Another way to make the most of market research would be to outsource it to companies like Circle Research, which is one of the best at just this.
However, in order for your research to really do its job properly, you need consult a lot of people. Not only that, but you need to make sure that you’re asking the right demographic – all things to be considered when you are planning a strategy to carry it out.
With this in mind, here are a few simple tips on the best way to gauge opinion and get maximum results with minimum use of resources.
Focus groups work well if you are looking for insights into consumer attitudes and yield the best results when the topic relates to a new product or the development of an existing service.
Taking the form of a discussion among several people, a facilitator will use a series of questions to lead the talk on what the participants thing about specific issues and encourages them to give their opinions and arguments upon which those opinions are based.
Usually lasting between one and two hours, general consensus is that you need to run at least three sessions to achieve a balanced view. While this used to be a costly affair, technology can now help businesses achieve the same results on a tighter budget and shorter timescale.
For example, by using conference calling facilities, the focus group can take the form of a teleconference meeting. This way, opinions can still be easily recorded, while times and dates of when the sessions can take place are much more flexible as a result of those taking part not having to travel to do so. In addition to this, extra expenses that might normally apply – such as putting on food and drink – do not apply.
After conducting your focus groups, you may want to follow your findings up with further market research in the form of a survey.
It’s recommended that surveys are often done after initial interviews and similar methods as, unlike the groups, you don’t have the opportunity to ask follow-up questions to ensure your participants are giving you the full picture. This time around, you ideally need to already know exactly what answers you are looking for to allow you to ask the most effective questions.
However, some of the drawbacks with surveys are that they do cost both time and money. In order for them to work, you need a large response rate – which can drain on both of these resources. Even so, online surveys are becoming more popular now as they are cheaper, although their results aren’t always as reliable as there is no control over who is actually filling your questionnaire out.
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