Market research is universally considered to be important, but many make common mistakes. Here’s a quick checklist of common pitfalls to avoid.
- No Purpose: A lot of market research asks the wrong questions. Companies often follow a standard template and ask generalized questions. Instead, clearly articulate your Guiding Research Questions and only ask questions that give you answers you can use.
- Not Doing Good Secondary Research: Many companies fail to look at existing available research. There’s no need to pay to conduct your own primary research if there’s existing data. Do a thorough search before designing your own research plan. Make sure to check dates and validity of the information.
- Wrong sample: Asking the right questions of the wrong respondents will yield irrelevant results. Be sure you think about whom you should talk to. Make sure that your online market research company recommends the optimal sample to answer your key research questions. The right questions to the right people will yield usable and valuable information.
- Wrong research tool: Many companies start the research process by saying, “I want to do a survey,” or “I want to do a focus group.” Instead, consider which research tool will best accomplish your goals within your budget. Sometimes a combination of methods works best.
- Insufficient Sample Size: Be careful about drawing inappropriate conclusions from research. Qualitative research is excellent for probing and delving into details, but it’s not good for extrapolating to large populations. Quantitative research must be based on a random sample that is large enough for extrapolation.
- Overspending: Shop around for a market research firm that understands that good research takes into account your objectives, your time frame and your budget. By weighing all three, you can arrive at an optimal budget.
- Improper Analysis: It’s easy to look at the results of market research through biased eyes. This is especially tricky with qualitative research. Choose the right analytical tools and look for statistically significant findings from quantitative research and common key insights from qualitative.