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Putting together a market research plan?

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As you focus on putting together a strong business, you always need to consider your marketing plan and how your customers will be able to learn about your business. Your marketing plan is so important that it is often required by lenders as part of your business plan when you are seeking financing. To develop a proper marketing plan, you need to start with market research. What does market research entail and how does it help you strengthen your business?

Market research allows you to size up your competition to figure out not only who they are but how they are taking some of your customers. You need to keep your eye on your competition and look for ways to stay ahead of them in the marketing game so you are the company that people turn to for information.

Market research also provides you with valuable information for your customers. You need to learn about your customers, their shopping patterns and buying behaviors in order to find a way to properly market to them and create products that they are going to be interested in. Identifying who will buy your product is a big part of market research.

Where do you collect this information? Most people will pay market research companies to collect this information for them through the form of surveys and other valuable tools. You can actually do a lot of this research on your own by using social media sites to collect this information. How do social media sites help? For one, they are free! For two, your customers will be on there, you just have to find them. Social media sites are used to interact with friends and others but a number of companies have found they present a great opportunity to interact with their customers on a personal level. You will be able to learn about your customers as they will use discussion boards and groups to talk about information pertaining to your company and your industry.

Google alerts is another way to gather market research information. You can easily find out what your customers are saying because Google alerts will tell you. Each time a customer uses a certain keyword pertaining to your company, you will get a message. This is a wonderful way to learn how to time your marketing promotions and to change up your marketing promotions for a product that your customers are talking about.

There are 5 key points to a good market research plan:

  1. Examining your current marketplace and determining what products your customers want to purchase and ones that they might like to see from your company.

  2. Assessing your competition and looking for ways to stay ahead of them.

  3. Correct data about your customers.

  4. Marketing campaign direction for the upcoming year.

  5. Establishing goals for your marketing department. Goals can be broken down into weeks, months, quarters, and years.

Market research can be done by you just by asking your customers about their feelings and perceptions about your company. Find out if they are satisfied with your company and what they want to see change. You can break down market research by placing it into a few simple categories like surveys, blogs and discussion groups, data collection, and analysis.

Hiring an outside market research company to come in and do the work for you can be pretty expensive. Larger companies tend to opt for this because they do not want to tie up their employee's time on surveys and things that can get mundane. Smaller businesses often need to do it on their own to save money. Look at all your options and what you can and cannot afford in order to find the right market research company.

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