Step 2: The Go-No Go decision point

If you’ve been following along, we’re covering what the research process is here in my blog area. Step 1 asked “what do you want to know.”  Step 2 now asks “what information do you have?”

This is where the rubber meets the road- do you do original research (or otherwise called “Primary Research”) to solve your business related problem, or do you rely on existing information?

There’s a lot of good reasons to do original research (which are covered in other blog postings here): the data will be unique to you, your market and your customers. But as with all good things – it doesn’t come without a cost. Original research can be costly – in terms of time AND money.

So what do you do? You look through what you can lay your hands on. Start with internal data. Do you have financial records that can give any insight? Do you have customer mailing lists or do you get customer information when customers pick up their orders? Do you have ANY data whatsoever related to your question?

If not – don’t fret. There are solutions. Let me introduce you to this nifty little contraption – you might have heard of it – called the web?

No – really. I don’t mean to sound sarcastic, but it’s true: the web has a wealth of information. Some strategic hunting around can sometimes yield good insights.

So for example, perhaps you have a ski resort and you want to know more about your cusomers. In searching the web, you find that one of your competitors has written about the research they did and what they learned from it. Great! But….
* Do you have the same client base?
* Do you trust they did the research well (well enough to get good answers?)
* How long ago did they do the research?

Other times, businesses find great research from their local chamber of commerce or industry associaton. Both can be great, great sources — but again – you have to ask yourself if the information is still valid (accurate) for today’s market? If the last “Ski Association Unliminted” market research study was in 1995…well…….. ??? Hmmm. No. Don’t think that’s a good idea. (When in doubt, ask yourself “have I changed since X date?” when looking at the datedness of an article or study. That’s usually a good litmus test!)

Tune in next time: if you’ve passed this go-no go decision point, then the fun begins! Designing the study and gathering the data!

Category: Market Research

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