Approaching Research



Thinking of Doing a Marketing Research Project?  Some thoughts to consider

Marketing research can help guide solid business decisions, but it is important to realize two things:

-          Research can answer many questions, but some arenít feasible.

-          All research projects need to be grounded in what is needed to make better decisions and the use of the proper technique to get the job done.

The home improvement space is particularly tricky given the structure of the industry, the range of customers from homeowners who buy infrequently to contractors who buy daily, and some target audiences that are quite hard to find.


So here are some basic steps to consider when building a research plan:


What is the business issue we are trying to better understand?


How do we translate from our issues to questions we can ask?


Who is the best group of people to give us answers to our questions?


How do we get cooperation from the audience we need to study?


What type of research format will be most useful (in-depth interviews, focus groups, ethnographic research, mobile research, online quantitative study and more)?


How big does the sample need to be to meet the business objectives?


How long will it take to complete an interview?


What is the cost and timing?

Do this right and you are off to a good start.  Get this wrong and you will end up with an unproductive project.

Now that you have a good plan, execution and analysis/reporting are critical.


Research Execution

How can the subject be covered with respondents so they can provide quality answers?  (Must put the questions into their terms, not necessarily a direct statement of the business issue.) How to get sample of respondents that represents you target group?  What is the best flow for collecting the data?


Analysis and Reporting

Much of ďartĒ in doing good research is proper and creative analysis of the data.  Much like a good mystery, analyzing research is a process of continual discovery.  One finding might lead to another line of inquiry.  It is important to have both the analytical tools and the business experience to turn the data it the insights that drive the top and bottom line.

Beware The Cheap Plan

With some of the tools available today, some companies are going it alone.  This may work when the decisions being made are of minor impact.  But if you really care about getting quality information, a research professional is what you need.  Bad research is often worse than no research at all.