Who are your customers and potential customers? What kind of people are they? Where do they live? Can and will they buy the product you're offering? Are you offering the kinds of goods they want at the best place, the best time and best amounts? Are your prices consistent with what the buyers view as the products' values? Are you applying the promotional programs in a way that will bring about success? Who are your competitors?
Learning who your customers are and what they want. Learning how to reach your customer and how frequently you should try to communicate with them. Learning which appeals are most effective and which ones aren't. Learning the relative successes of different marketing strategies in relation to their return on investment.
1.Preparing the questions: Who, if anyone, has a real need for the thing I propose to sell, and how many of those potential customers are there? How much, if anything, are they spending to address that need today [and/or how much would they be willing to spend]? Does my product meet that need in a manner that either saves or makes them substantial amounts of money?
These questions have a business focus, but they can be generalized to handle any product. For example, in question 1, no one had a "real need" for pet rocks or singing fish, yet these products sold very well. So we might expand the question to include "desires" and "whims" as well as needs. Similarly, in question 3, people often buy things for reasons that have nothing to do with making or saving money. For example, Egyptian cotton sheets neither make or save money, but they feel good when you are falling asleep. So we can expand question #3 to say, "Does the product appeal to a customer in a way that would cause him or her to pull out the wallet?" The word "appeal" can be very broad -- everything from breast implants to chrome wheels to food processors can fall into that category.
The goal of all of these questions is to gain intimate knowledge of your customers. You want to know exactly what they are thinking and feeling, and why.
Mobile surveys Online surveys Telephone Mail Face-to-face Mixed-mode surveys Social Media Monitoring Census Data Association Data
Annual Reports | www.annualreports.com Online access to annual reports Marketresearch.com | www.marketresearch.com Reports to purchase Quirks | www.quirks.com Magazine for market researchers Securities and Exchange Commission | www.sec.gov Corporate filings Valuation Resources | www.valuationresources.com/IndustryReport.htm Free industry reports
SizeUp From the SBA – Released last September Collects industry information from hundreds of public data sources, including Internal Revenue Service records, county courthouse filings, telephone directories, annual reports and more. It pulls demographic data and labor force data from a wide range of public and private sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Postal Service and other government agencies. The SizeUp database is deep, with information on 14 million businesses. http://www.sba.gov/tools/sizeup