Market Research: A Librarian's Guide

There Are Three Occasions When You Need Market Research

  • Before starting a new business
  • When introducing a new product or service
  • To maintain your existing business

There Are Four Basic Purposes of Market Research

  • Analyzing your market
  • Analyzing the market's response to your product
  • Analyzing the effectiveness of your advertising
  • Strategic Planning

Analyzing Your Market: Questions to Ask

  • Who are your target customers?
  • Are there enough customers to justify your business?
  • Where do your customers live?
  • Where should you locate your business?
  • What are some of the common characteristics of your customers?
  • Who are your competitors and where are they located?

There Are Two Sources of Data

Primary Data: Generated and driven by you and your business, data mined from your employees, customer surveys, studies, focus groups, consultants, can be costly depending on your methods (data specific to your business).

Example: Businesses that track their customer's residential zip codes or telephone numbers will know where their customers live. There are ways to employ technology to gather and collect customer data.

Secondary Data: Sources of data found outside of your business, usually available by either online web sites, commercial databases, or in printed materials. Sources include: census bureau data, news and media sources, surveys conducted by trade associations, labor market statistics, government-generated reports and economic indicators, city guides, chambers of commerceU.S. Department of Commercetrade publications, commerical databases, neighborhood associationsdowntown authorities, trade shows. Most secondary data is quantitative.

Quantitative Data

  • Data that can be easily transferred into graphs and lists
  • Big picture data, usually industry-specific

Qualitative Data

  • Data mined from your customer's feelings, buying practices, preferences, and feelings
  • Gleaned from focus groups, surveys, questionnaires, and evaluation forms

Demographics and Psychographics

  • Demographics include: age, race, gender, religion, income, number of years of schooling, job, size of household, etc.
  • Psychographics: "The “why” of consumer research to attempt to explain why consumers behave the way that they do. Research is conducted by observing and analyzing personality traits and values. Very closely related to lifestyle research."

Commonly Used Sources for Market Research