It is common knowledge that many enterprises generate large quantities of internal data, which are valuable in market research. However, if your company is only a recent startup, you will lack any reasonable in-house supply of this sort of information. Hence, your only substitute is to study the data of those companies, which are in the same line of business as yours. Some of the externally published materials, which are easily obtained in this way, include: Trade Information Brochures, Tax Publications, Annual Marketing and Sales Journals, as well as Audit and Accounting Reports.
Although the extractable information from each of these publications may vary in both importance and specificity, they are still capable of providing you with the general overview, which you might need in order to cope. Also, the use of those haphazardly gathered pieces of information (as guidelines in designing the methodology of your field research), would be more appreciated if you are keen on employing Sampling Analyses in your research methodology.
The purpose of any market research initiative is to acquire as much environmental information as possible. These pieces of information are essential for accurate assessments of all occurrences, which might (temporarily) alter the course of events in the industry. It is also vital for making informed management decision: especially with regards to what the competitors might or might not be doing.
Like the traditional market research methods, the first step in e-market research program involves gathering and evaluating data (electronically), either by direct sourcing or by monitoring and collecting behavioral information from those visiting the company’s website. This could be formally achieved if visitors pause and respond to the research questions posted on the online questionnaires. However, the fact is that majority of the site’s visitors may not have the time to respond to these questionnaires. In that case, the researchers would have no option but to keep track of the web navigational habits of this type of ‘fleeting visitors’.
The main research areas for typical establishments include: customers, markets, competition, and environment. With regards to customers, interesting attitudes like: behavior, needs, beliefs, characteristic, and responsiveness are paid attention. The research focus then shifts to the market in which those consumers operate. The market attributes, which should constitute your focal point (and which are usually of interest to various researchers), include its size, structure, dynamics, relationships, and trends.
The knowledge gained in the course of evaluating these market attributes could be utilized when investigating how good or how bad the competitors are faring. For a better inference, each competitor’s market share, aims and objectives, targeting styles, positioning methods, as well as overall strengths and weaknesses should be painstakingly analyzed. The outcome of this analysis is then used for environmental estimates and evaluations. In this case, all the recent occurrences that pertained to, and conformed to that environmental framework are verified. These include all externally generated changes in the market, as well as contemporary trends that define modes and lifestyles.
The marketing knowledge and results obtained from these researches should be borne in mind when plotting corporate policies and decisions. This is because high-level strategic planners (like you and your management associates), need reliable up-to-date information (about market structures, customers, competition, and the environment), to be able to set the overall strategic direction of your organization.
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