Continuing Step 3: Getting that data

As we started talking about, there’s two basic types of data: qualitative and quantitative. But just as there are different types of information, so too are there different ways of getting information.

For the moment, we won’t discuss running experiments (ie: do shoppers buy more when the sale signs at the grocery store say “limit 10” under the price announcement?) or observing (how annoyed do customers get when they can’t find the checkout register?) Those are still a very important part of market research – but not many of my clients ask for that kind of data.

Nope – let’s get down to the basics: the basic blocking and tackling of research. More than likely you’ve been part of a market research study.  Have you filled out a customer satisfaction card at a restaurant? Filled out a survey to win $1000 that you find at the bottom of so many store receipts? Been stopped at the mall by those people in the funny jackets asking you if they could get your opinion about something? Most of us have. The question is: what will work for you and your business?

How you choose to implement the study will depend on a few things: the time/setting it needs to be conducted in, and how much help the respondent needs and how much money you have. There’s pros and cons to all different types of study techniques:

  • Internet surveys or research can be great – very cost effective and you get the data back right away. But there are lingering questions around the authenticity of the respondents, who has access to the internet and the impact of that on your possible respondents.
  • Paper surveys are fine – and can be great for the simplest of surveys (ie: those little cards you fill out at the restaurant). But paper surveys can be lost or ignored. Further, then you still need to enter the responses into some program in order to analyze your customers’ responses.
  • Interviewers can be quite helpful: if the questions are confusing, then clearly there is someone there who can answer the respondent’s questions. However, hiring someone to conduct interviews can be expensive. Further, depending on the topic, it might be awkward for the respondent to answer the questions in the survey if they are more of a personal nature.

So when you finally decide WHAT you want to know, and What KIND of data you need to make your business decisions, you then next need to figure out HOW you are going to get that information.

Next time: Analyze the information!

Category: Market Research

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