Market Research

Market research is essential to developing successful business plans and product strategies.  With rigorous market research, answers to key questions can be determined early on which will help to guide decision making and minimize the risk of product development.

Market research is often focused on the following areas:

1.  Market Analysis (market segmentation, sizing, product shipments, installed base and market shares)

2.  Competitive Analysis

3.  Requirements Definition (determining needs; validating product concepts)

4.  ROI Determination

Market research techniques can be generally classified as either primary research (original information gathered for a specific purpose) or secondary research (information that already exists).  Primary research can simply involve querying customers or employees in an informal manner, or could include surveys or highly structured interviews.  Questionnaires, telephone surveys, focus groups, test marketing and behavior observation are all examples of primary research. 

There are many sources of secondary research material, including trade journals, business publications, trade associations, published market research and government agencies.  

Some sources of secondary research: 

Fedstats.gov - provides access to statistics from over 100 U.S. Government agencies

Bureau of Labor Statistics - employment, prices, inflation, pay, benefits and more

Small Business Administration - statistics and economic research for U.S. small businesses

U.S. Census Bureau - U.S. household and business statistics, including the NAICS business classification data 

American Society of Association Executives - directory of associations searchable by name and interest area