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 Conduct a Market Survey

What is market survey? Why should you do it? How is it done?

What is Marketing Analysis?
Market survey or marketing analysis is the field business activity undertaken to ascertain if there is a need, demand or market for a particular product or service before its production is embarked upon. This applies whether you are starting a new business or launching a new product.  Knowing the nature, structure and needs of the market and how it is currently serviced provides the entrepreneur vital information essential for developing his ideas and drawing up a workable business plan.  

Conducting a market analysis will help you:

  1. To determine if there is a market for your products or services
  2. To establish the need for developing a marketing plan
  3. To ascertain market information that will assist in the sale of your product or service
  4. Prepare to enter the market or a new market
  5. Launch a new product/service
  6. Start a new business
  7. Expand your business

How is Marketing Analysis Done? 
Marketing analysis is a careful, deliberate and diligent exercise. It is to business what lab analysis is in medicine. The process can be broken down into six steps.

  1. Define the problem
  2. Analyse of the situation
  3. Obtain data that is specific to the problem
  4. Analyse and interpret the data
  5. Foster ideas and solve problem  
  6. Design a plan

A. Defining the problem 
This is hitting the bull’s eye. What specific aspect of your business are you focusing your analysis on and what are your trying to or hope to achieve at the end of the day. Defining the problem this way is crucial to conducting a successful marketing analysis.  Conducting a marketing research based on the wrong problem definition is tantamount to treating a patient based on the wrong diagnoses. So first define the problem or issue you are interested in. Be as specific and focused as possible. For instance:

  1. Are you trying to market your existing product / services?
  2. Are you trying to introduce a new product / service?  
  3. Are you focusing on existing marketing strategies by existing companies
  4. Are you trying to find the demand pattern?
  5. Are you interested in the market structure and demographics?
  6. Are you focusing of distribution and marketing channels
  7.  Etc.

B. Analysis Of The Situation 
This involves obtaining informal information in the identified problem areas and is undertaken to avoid costly mistakes later in the business.  It entails constructive dialogue with the relevant people in your business such as your employees, clients, consultants, accountants, and other relevant industry stake holders. Information sought under situation analysis of the problem area includes the nature of the target market, competition, the marketing mix and the external environment.  
C. Obtaining Data Specific To The Problem 
There are various methods employed in obtaining the necessary data. These include:

  1. Observation
  2. Personal Interview
  3. Open-ended questions
  4. Focused group interview
  5. Survey questionnaires

The choice of which method to use is a function of your knowledge and research ability and the nature of the specific issue your research if focused on.

D. Data Analysis and Interpretation 
Having obtained the data, the next step is analysing and interpreting them and this is critical in the entire process. If you are experienced in statistical analysis you may use one of the statistical or computer packages. Otherwise you may do a see-and-explain-work; this is as good as self medication. So, it is best you engage a professional to analyse the data for you. 

E. Fostering Ideas And Problem Solving 
At this stage the analysed data are applied in marketing planning and decisions.   Bearing this in mind, the a priori of the marketing analysis must be well defined and established ab initio and built into the entire process from scratch. This is so as to employ the right method and obtain the right data. It is very often the case that market analysis ends up gathering so much data that are useless to the marketing decision process. 
F. Marketing Plan 
Now integrate the results of your marketing analysis into your marketing plan and get set to rollout. 

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