On Marketing Research (and accidentally finding an example of why good websites are crucial to marketing)

http://www.inc.com/guides/marketing/24018.html

This website has a bunch of tutorials on marketing research and a few articles on what other companies have done wrong. It offers insight into such topics as creating your own focus group, a couple of tips about inexpensive ad methods, and tutorials on target markets.

The articles are fairly in-depth depending on the article’s goal. The “tips from a guerilla marketer” page doesn’t have a long article, but it gives a look as to how others have found success in getting ads to the consumers for a smaller cost.

The article on how to set up a focus group, or consumer panel, is actually rather informative relative to recent discussions. Instead of just outlining the types of questions that would be asked during a focus group panel, it also explains ways to invite customers and how to go about using the information. What I thought was really interesting was how it explained the panel atmosphere. It should be kept as anonymous as possible, and there should be employees there to listen to the feedback and take notes- but they should not be contributing any ideas or feedback of their own. The employees should be ready to answer questions, but not give any explanation that wasn’t asked for or any reasoning against complaints.

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/34145/How-to-Design-a-Marketing-Survey-That-Yields-Legitimate-Results.aspx

This blog post from HubSpot gives amazing insight into writing up a market research survey. It goes over how to write the questions as well as who should be writing questions. For example, the marketing department should be sharing the survey drafts with other departments. Why? Other departments may know things about products or services that the marketing might not. Besides, having more minds to collaborate means more power behind the work. The post also explains that too many questions will lower results. If you have more questions than the recommended ballpark of 40, the article also suggests giving an incentive for completing the survey, such as being registered to win a cash prize or something else reasonable for the survey (perhaps that’s why stores and restaurants offer $1000 for a survey- they could be really long!).  It’s also incredibly important to proofread and go over the questions again and again. Questions shouldn’t lead to an answer or assume one way or another. The grammar and spelling should also be proofread. In short, don’t be short about writing your surveys.

http://web.bryant.edu/~jcurran/Report.html

This article explains the how, what, and why of marketing research reports. It explains in depth how to write a marketing research report and why each section is important. A marketing research report is what it sounds like- a report on the marketing research that has been done. It outlines what the findings of the conducted study were, offers insights to any limitations of the study, and recommendations as to what to do about the study’s results. It also shows that references and appendices can be important, but should not get in the way of the body of the report. References show that you have compiled a valid report and give credit where credit is due. Appendix sections are for surveys themselves, graphs, charts, and any other material that is important to the report but would get distracting or confusing if they appeared in the main parts of the report.

It’s important for a marketer to know how to write a marketing research report, and it is beneficial for other departments to understand how marketing research reports work. Since other departments would really only need some stats and the proposed usage of the information, they should understand how the marketing got to the conclusions from reading the section and then look up anything else that needs clarification.

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