Wikipedia defines market research as any organized effort to gather information about markets and customers. It defines marketing as the process used to determine what products or services may be of interest to customers, and the strategy to use in sales, communications and business development. That sounds easy enough. Not so, said Alison Silbert, founder of Passionate Web Creations and Ideal Visitor, Inc., in an email interview.
While it's important for companies and entrepreneurs to conduct market research, if they don't know how to do it effectively, they could end up losing more in revenue than they would have spent hiring a professional market research company or consultant.
Educating her clients about how to effectively conduct market research is one of Silbert's biggest challenges, she said. The problems that businesses could run into if they do their own market research poorly, said Silbert, are:
- Lack of expertise in market research execution, which leads to poor research samples being taken and poor research results.
- Lack of time leads to rushed sampling and execution of the market research study being performed, which eventually leads to poor study results.
- Lack of knowledge around how to arrange the research in a coherent format could lead to an inability to use or publicize critical data taken from the study.
The top three things that marketers can do to better educate their clients about the marketing process are:
- Teach them how to identify an ideal client, create messaging and branding, and use enough effective marketing outlets and tactics.
- Ensure the client knows that markeing is a live, ongoing process that must be done for the lifetime of the business.
- Teach clients how to write marketing copy that is designed to engage the ideal prospect within the first three seconds of viewing it and start the buying cycle.