Holiday Marketing Basics: Marketing Research Methods

Posted: 10.27.2017


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The pinnacle of consumer-spending is here: holiday season. It's a great excuse to hone those marketing chops when you can see "battle for consumers" happening in the marketplace more than at any other time of the year.


I happen to be writing this blog with a warm cup of coffee in hand, watching snow fall outside (Minnesota, people), so the holidays are a little more top-of-mind for me today. In the spirit of holiday giving, I am starting a holiday marketing 101.


The goal is to review and sharpen the reader's marketing skillset. Every Friday from now until the end of the year I will be posting a new blog dedicated to an aspect of marketing.


For this week, let's look at the basics of market research methodologies.


There are 4 basic methodologies, though what is done with the resulting data are multitudinous:


#1. Surveys: Engage a sample group that represents your target market. There are several ways this data is collected: Online or In-Person, Simple scoring ("quantitative") or In-depth interviews ("qualitative").

#2. Focus Groups: Create a discussion with representatives of your target market. These sessions usually take place at facilities with videotaping equipment and an observation room with one-way mirrors.

#3. Observation: Validate individual responses with observed behavior (without the subject's knowledge)

#4. Field Trial: Place the product or service in the live marketplace, but in select locations. Use live metrics (sales, satisfaction, etc.) to determine what modifications are necessary before indroducing the change on a wider basis.


Once a methodology (or mixed-methodology) is chosen and the research conducted, the resulting data are then used to make a business decision or feed "Secondary" sources like Simmons or Nielsen panel.


When trying to choose a market research methodology, consider the following:

- How big of a sample do I need in order to be "statistically significant?". Give this calculator a try.

- What are my key business objectives? I.e., what questions do I have, and how will I use the answers?

- Based on the importance of the business objective, what is my budget for obtaining this knowledge?


I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season - let's make it profitable too! :)


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