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It is important to research your market so that you have relevant data to aid you in solving any marketing problems which your company might encounter. If your company is just starting up, then this is absolutely necessary. Thorough market surveys function as the cornerstone for any successful business. Without market research you cannot identify specific segments within your market nor can you identify which of your products and/or services separates you from your competition. 

Whether you use experimental methods, survey methods, observational methods, or historical methods, you will end up with two types of data. The first is primary data which is gathered by an outside source but compiled by you. The secondary data is compiled and organized by someone else. This is the most popular source of information generally reported by government agencies, businesses within the industry, or trade associations.

Primary Research

Primary research can be exploratory or specific. If the latter, it is meant to be open-ended so that you can define a specific problem. It will require detailed and unstructured interviews which include lengthy answers solicited from respondents. Specific research is broader and is meant to solve a problem identified by exploratory research. In this instance, the interviews are structured and very formal. Specific research is the more expensive of the two. If you plan to conduct primary research with your own resources, the first step is deciding how you plan to question your target group. You can do this through personal interview, telemarketing, or direct mail.

Direct Mailing

For direct mail, the best way to ensure you increase the rate of response is to do the following: Make it short and sweet Address questionnaires to specific persons Address questionnaires to people interested in the respondent Limit the questionnaire to two pages Enclose a cover letter from your company explaining your needs Send a reminder two weeks after the questionnaire has been mailed with a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope.
Response for direct mail is generally less than five percent.

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