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How to plan your market research

The base of any successful marketing plan is market research. Savvy business owners know that they must find the information that they need in order to reach their target market in a way that will motivate them to want to buy. Market research will allow any business owner to design a marketing plan that not only reaches his or her target market but also clearly shows them why they need to buy from their business and not the competition. However, this is virtually impossible to do without market research. It is important to realize that market research is a lot more then just sending out some customer surveys. Just like any other part of your marketing plan you need to carefully plan how you are going to do it. Here is what you need to know about how to plan your market research-

- Decide how you are going to do it-There are many different ways that you can do market research. You can either choose to gather the information yourself or you can hire a firm to do it for you. If you choose to hire a company to do your market research it is crucial that you take the time to thoroughly check them out and make sure that they are not only reputable but able to get the information that you will be needing.
- Decide what the problem is-The bottom line is that there is a great deal of information that can be gathered. You will need to determine exactly what you will need in order to design or improve your marketing plan. You should consider the information that you need in terms of problems that you want solved. When you have narrowed down what information that you need it will not only make gathering the market research more effective but the information itself, as well.
- Decide how to collect the data-There are almost as many ways to gather market research as there are types of information. You will need to determine the best way to gather the data that you are looking for. It is important that you have a planned approach to how you will gather the market research or you may find that when you are done you don't really have the information that you wanted. If you are going to do the market research yourself it can be helpful to consult with an expert as to how you should collect the data so that it will be of the most use to you and your business.
- Decide how you want the data formatted-Once you have decided how to collect the data you will need to have a way to format it. Raw data will be of little use to you. The good news is that there are several different software programs that can help you with this task. You can use the software programs as the way to collect the data and it will give you options when it comes to analyzing it as well.
- Decide how to analyze and use the data-The final step will be to analyze the market research that you have collected. You will need to look for the information that will help you in putting together the most effective marketing program. This can be a time consuming process but with careful analysis you can find the answers to reaching out and establishing a profitable and long term relationship with your customers. Finally, keep in mind that this is process that may need to be repeated on a regular basis since the needs and demands of your customers will change over time.

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