Target Market Research

Written by Linda Alexander
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Target market research should be done before starting a business, before launching new products, and it should always be an ongoing process to gauge customer satisfaction and discover trends. When conducting target market research, work backwards. Decide why you need the information you do and how you will use it to improve your sales and marketing technique. Do this before you decide which type of research to conduct.

There are many ways to collect information. The most common methods that marketers use are focus groups, interviews, telephone surveys, written (mail or email) surveys, and literature searches. A focus group is used for preliminary research to explore people's ideas and attitudes. It is often used to test new products or advertising and to learn about customer concerns. Its disadvantage is that the sample size is usually small and may not represent the ideas or beliefs of your entire target market research population.

Methods of Target Market Research

Personal interviews are another idea to consider for your market research design. However, they are usually expensive to conduct, based on their one-on-one nature. They are usually only used when a person is not likely to respond to other methods. Telephone surveys are the fastest way to collect information from a relatively large sample. The interviewer follows a script that is essentially the same as a written questionnaire. But unlike a written survey, telephone surveys offer an opportunity to probe opinions and gives the interviewee a chance to comment in depth.

Mail surveys are a cost-effective method of gathering information that are ideal for large sample sizes. They are very objective because there is no bias. Internet and email surveys are similar to mail surveys, and are the fastest method to collect information, and also the most cost-effective. Finally, literature searches involve using all the information that is already available in newspapers, trade magazines, books, and company data to answer questions. Its only drawback is that the information may not be timely.

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