Small Business Management

Small Business Marketing Research

Small Business Marketing Research: An Overview

Small Business Marketing Research

Small business marketing research is an often overlooked component of small business operations. Companies do not always know how to measure the value of market research since it is not as straight forward to determine as advertising spend. The return on advertising dollars can be quantified by the result on sales or revenue. Small business market research, however, can influence how you spend your advertising dollars; how you position your product or services and the strategic direction you take in your target market. The benefit of small business marketing research needs to be considered in the overall context of an organizations total marketing strategy and assessed in terms of its strategic importance. The research's inherent value is perhaps better quantified in terms of how well it assists an organization to make business decisions that create value or lead to new or superior business opportunities.

Small business marketing plan:

Every company should have a formally completed marketing plan. This plan articulates the small business marketing strategy, defines objectives, establishes milestones and provides criteria for determining feedback. The essence of a successful business is an integrated marketing and sales plan that produces results and is scalable for further business growth. How does small business marketing research contribute to this? Market research helps you gain greater insight to understand your customer to a higher degree. Companies use market research to determine the following:

(a) What is the primary motivating buying behavior for the product or service?

(b) How does the product/service fulfill the customer's needs?

(c) What are the cost/benefits considerations?

(d) What are the most important factors for the products/services purchase?

(e) Who is the primary target market and what are the demographic characteristics?

Answers to these questions allow a company to shape its market plan, position the product to meet consumer expectations, create value propositions and establish a unique selling proposition.

Undertaking small business marketing research also assist companies to identify new or emerging opportunities. Perhaps the findings will reveal hidden and underexploited areas of the market. The focus of market research should encompass three considerations:

(i) Defining the purpose and objectives of the research

(ii) Assessing the information to provide meaningful business data for decision making purposes

(iii) Implementing the findings into a companies overall marketing plan and operational goals and objectives.

Strategic shifts in business orientation are often precipitated by feedback from small business marketing research. Penetrating new markets, building market share and launching new products are the fringe benefits of well designed and implemented marketing research. Whilst the value of undertaking research might not initially be apparent, the value of research to an organizations overall operations provides a better indication of its importance and strategic value.

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