Market Research
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Merely looking at the state of the marketplace is not enough, to develop a sound marketing strategy, you need to go out and question your consumers about the level and quality of service they receive from your products.

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The logic will differ depending on the the type of product or service your business provides. If you have a product which is consumed on a mass scale, then you could get away with paying a market research company to carry out the research for you, with their interviewers conducting the research across the major high streets in the UK.

Your business could conduct it's own in house type of interviews where consumers are invited to come and are asked a series of questions regarding their existing products as well as new products. These types of interview research are best carried out as individual and team based activities, the costs involved are high, but the results are as measurable as spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on research and development on products which consumers reject, these can be very detrimental on business performance. 

If you offer a service/or are a business to business type of organisation, then you could quite easily carry out the research via a questionnaire sent out to customers.

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Creating the correct questionnaire design is vital. A poorly designed questionnaire will not yield the desired results.

Make sure the questionnaire layout is simple, clear and precise, include a front sheet, explaining the logic behind the questionnaire.

Ensure all questions within the questionnaire are easy to understand. Do not use leading questions which result in a particular type of response. Avoid complicated phrases, double barreled questions, any racist or discriminatory questions.

Ensure that you include a stamped addressed envelope to ensure that people respond to your questionnaires.

To generate a higher response rate, offer a prize draw, offer something like a television or a years supply of your product.

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Put quite simply, market research is very important, the more information you can gain from the consumer then the more consumer orientated improvements can be made to your products and services, to make them become even more appealing. If you do not carry out any market research your business will miss out on vital ways to gain competitive advantage.

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(c)  Est 08/00 - Last Updated 28/05//2001