Prior to conducting any business venture, be it opening a business for the first time, launching a new product, or even increasing your prices it is essential to conduct market research to ensure you get the result you want. If you fail to carry out due diligence within your market research you may end up making a mistake that will cost, you both money and time. Market research is one of the efficient and cost effective ways a business can get valuable, untainted industry information.

Here are three critical points to consider when you are doing your market research.

1.    Identify who is your target audience.  Market research is defined as the process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting information about a market, about a product or service to be offered for sale in that market. Therefore, have a clear understanding of who your target audience is. When it comes to market research, don’t waste your time collecting data from sources that are not targeted to your relevant audience.

2.    Use a Mix of Primary and Secondary Research. A good quality market research involves two types of data, Primary Information, the research directly collected by you or for you. The second type is Secondary Information, the research compiled by third parties that is relevant to your research. For example, studies and reports compiled by governmental entities, or trade associations within your industry. The distinction between the two is that primary research focuses on factual first-hand accounts whereas secondary research is generally the analytic and interpretation process on data that has already been published. While most businesses will rely their market research on secondary information, whenever possible it is essential to conduct both types to allow you to get a more accurate representation of the situation and allow you to make a more informed decision.

3.    Combine Quantitative and Qualitative Research. Quantitative research measures how many individuals think and feel in a certain manner. Qualitative research (aka focus groups) measures what individuals in your target market feel and think. When combining quantitative and qualitative research can result in a powerful research approach. However, due to cuts in research budgets and the desire for fast results, qualitative research is sometimes being eliminated completely. However, using this combination will allow you to get a strong mathematical analysis of the data while also getting a wider range. If you use only one set, you may not discover something that could be incredibly important in your decision.