Pool of Market Research Mistakes In Bulk

by Sunanda K. Chavan on Tuesday 25 January 2011, 6:08 PM | Category: Marketing| View: 1356 views
 
 
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What mistakes can someone commit in conducting a market research?

Not knowing what you don't know

It's easy to do online surveys these days. Doing it without understanding the basics you'll end up with misleading answers that send your business down the wrong path. This is worse than never doing any research in the first place. Spend a little time and get to know what you don't know about market research.

A basic review of the following topics is a great start.

Sampling and sampling error

Quantitative vs. qualitative research

Question bias / question design

Response rates / confidence levels

Questionnaire coding

Why people take surveys (social contract)

Some great books on these subjects are:

Not eliminating sampling errors

Many of the online surveys you see today are full of potential sampling errors. Take the time to develop a good sample and then make sure you get as many of those people as possible to your survey. The pros take the time and money to develop good samples and then make sure that they get good response rates.

Always use a true random sample

Tracking your respondents (PINs)

Program the survey to eliminate duplicates and respondents with bad intentions

Check the data for oddities (clean the data of illegitimate records)

Use incentives (does not have to be monetary, see social contract)

Making decisions with inaccurate information

Worse than that you may think it is telling you what to do with your important business decisions. Making decisions with inaccurate information is worse than taking a guess.

Writing bad questionnaires

Developing a good questionnaire is an essential part which gives answers to almost all of your questions that you want to know from them. But while fulfilling these do keep into consideration the following things

Biased questions

Unanswerable questions (impossible to know the answer)

Questions with two meanings

Hard to understand questions (way to long, strange use of words)

Dumb questions

Programming a hard to take survey

After you have spent all that time creating a good sample and writing good questions don't ruin it by programming a hard to use survey. Too much of this is going to get you either a contrived answer or the respondent leaving. Neither is good.

Don't force non-critical questions

Don't have non-standard buttons

Don't use non-standard technologies

Confusing social networking

Talking with lots of people might gain you valuable qualitative information but it is not quantitative market research. The difference is qualitative information rarely represents all of your audience and gives you individual opinions and ideas. Quantitative research on the other hand is designed to represent all of your audience and gives you answers that you can know reflects all of your customers. Don't confuse the two. Social networking can be useful but understand its limitations.

Ignoring your market research

If you go to all the trouble to conduct a good study then have a plan to do something with that information. Too many organizations will conduct market research for one reason or another and when they get information back just sit on it.

Over spending

In haste, many business owners shell out big bucks on the first market research firm that promises to provide them with all the data they could ever want on their target audience.

 

Get as much information about your competition as you can. The more you know about how they are conducting business, their pricing, and their strengths and weakness, the more effectively you can establish your competitive edge.

If done properly, your market research should tell you what customers expect to spend and how high they will go to purchase a product or service like yours.

Before accumulating first-hand research from your customers, you need to have an idea of who they are. For example, a focus group must meet your demographic needs, and a survey must be answered by prospective customers. Often businesses make the mistake of gathering random data, much of which does not apply to their business needs.

The only thing worse than not doing market research at all is spending money on it and not utilizing the results. Some business owners also tend to toss good research aside just because it did not support the answers they wanted to see.

Becoming impatient

These days we expect immediacy. Want to know how your stocks are doing. Pull them up on the Internet.

Not thoroughly researching the competition. Get as much information about your competition as you can. The more you know about how they are conducting business, their pricing, and their strengths and weakness, the more effectively you can establish your competitive edge.

Not researching price information. If done properly, your market research should tell you what customers expect to spend and how high they will go to purchase a product or service like yours.

Researching the wrong group. Before accumulating first-hand research from your customers, you need to have an idea of who they are. For example, a focus group must meet your demographic needs, and a survey must be answered by prospective customers. Often businesses make the mistake of gathering random data, much of which does not apply to their business needs.

They only use secondary research. Primary research is gaining firsthand knowledge straight from the market group, often through focus groups and surveys. Secondary research is typically published online or accessed from library data that summarized findings from too broad of a market. While it is helpful to study the broad landscape; it is more effective to gain primary research results for your specific niche and demographics.

 

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