Thriving in the Current Economy:

Version 2

    Market Research Has Never Been More Essential


    If it weren't for bad news, it seems there'd be no news on the economy at all. Yet, business goes on and some companies will not only survive the recession, but thrive in it. With consumers spending more selectively than ever, market research is more than a good idea. In today's economy, consumer market research is more cost effective and more essential than ever.


    Traditional market research is defined as the collection and analysis of information about consumers, market niches, and the effectiveness of marketing programs. Although this definition seems quite basic, market research is anything but simple. In today's world, market research can refer to anything from focus groups to online testing of packages and concepts, to in-home consumer testing of actual products.


    Market research can be described as either quantitative or qualitative market research. Both have their advantages. Quantitative market research is numbers driven and often based on statistics. It can be used to gather information that represents large population samples. Quantitative research is often preferred due to it being projectable. Quantitative research may not be as detail-oriented as qualitative research, and cannot produce the same in-depth results. Qualitative research goes beyond statistics, trying to capture consumers' thoughts, feelings, and attitudes on a more extensive level. Sample size is usually smaller, but questions are more detail-oriented. An in-home test of products is an excellent example of qualitative research.


    Market research can also be described as being either primary or secondary market research. Primary research involves collecting feedback directly from consumers and potential consumers. Secondary research involves analyzing industry trends and collecting sales data.


    Traditionally, primary market research has been done through phone surveys, mail-in surveys, and through product testing in places like malls. However, the internet's broad reach allows researchers to survey more people in a shorter time for less money when compared to the traditional methods.


    Online market research can be used to collect both quantitative and qualitative responses which consumers and potential consumers in your industry have to new concepts and products you are developing. Online research can include word association questions, surveys, online focus groups, images, and virtual prototyping methods which can include audio and video. Online research can supply excellent, projectable feedback on your latest proposed concepts, products, packaging ideas, and/or advertising campaigns.


    Data collected through market research allow marketers, brand managers, manufacturers, and other decision makers to rule out some ideas and choose others for further development, concentrating resources on the products and concepts with the most potential for success. In the current economy, market research is more cost effective and more essential than ever.