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gemma

To have a theory is not enough. For businesses any decision making should be based on evidence - not guess work

Gemma Mackman Research Director

amanda

We are proud that Mackman constantly contributes to the well-being of our community by giving services and time.

Amanda Ansell Researcher

paul

Our business is all about collaboration and long term relationships with clients, colleagues and suppliers. Working this way with a focus on shared goals and values ensures that together we grow.

Paul Mackman Managing Director

merv

There's a great buzz in the office, with everybody striving for excellence and improvement.

Merv Royce Financial Controller

abi

Working at Mackman is varied and fast paced. It is a rewarding role working alongside like minded people.

Abi Mackman Researcher

james

Everyday we're met with real challenges, which is a part of what I love about Mackman – it's just so satisfying to be able to solve problems head on, supported by a terrific team.

James Royce Digital Lead


Market Research

A Vital Business Tool

Market Research is an essential tool for businesses looking for competitive edge, growth, to improve profitability or enhance service levels. Successful business leaders are effective decision makers, however, in order to make the right choices they need accurate information from a trustworthy source. Market research can provide the market intelligence required and enables businesses to make informed decisions.

Increasing numbers of organisations are recognising the merit of market research as a crucial part of their strategic planning process. This is true for both the public and private sectors.

What Is Market Research?

Market research is the systematic collection, recording and analysis of data relating to markets, people and organisations that supports the decision making process. A large range of techniques can be employed dependent upon factors such as the specific needs of the business and the budget available.

Why Undertake Market Research?

Market research is a crucial way of informing your future business decisions. It can provide intelligence relating to potential markets and future clients needs, allowing you to either launch a new product with a reduced risk of failure or to capitalize on competitor weaknesses by offering your clients the services that they actually want and need. Market research can also direct your business plans giving clear focus to future strategies and enhance the success of tactical marketing by highlighting channels that will meet with your target market.

Typical business research projects include; mystery shopping, satisfaction surveys, perception surveys, awareness surveys, brand tracking and competitor research.

What Type Of Market Research Should You Undertake?

Research methodologies vary according to specific project requirements and the needs of clients. Information may be drawn from direct primary sources as well as from examinations of secondary data.

Quantitative methods allow large-scale projects to gather statistical and demographic information and are often used as a guide prior to qualitative methods where researchers will “dig deeper”.

Qualitative methods are used in focus groups, one-to-one interviewing (structured or semi-structured), street or telephone surveys, fieldwork and even participant observation. Ethnographic methods allow researchers to pay particular attention to verbatim responses in all research styles and bring the researcher closer to the subject at hand.

Choosing between a qualitative and quantitative research method is very simple. You need only consider your research objectives and the depth in which you want your market to be researched.

Where to start with Market Research?

The most effective approach to good market research is undoubtedly to employ a professional. Ideally a specialist agency with accreditation from a national recognised body such as the MRS (Market Research Society).

There are many benefits of outsourcing this type of work. For example, respondents are more likely to give honest and truthful answers to a researcher from outside of your organisation, particularly if they are assured that their identities are to be kept anonymous. In addition an agency will ensure that bias is designed out of the questionnaire and will use highly experienced and trained researchers.

It is important at the early stages that you have a clear idea of your research budget, as this may influence the types of research that you undertake. It is also crucial that you have definite objectives that act as your goal and shape your research question.

You may wish to consider formulating a research question. This need not be complicated and may merely consist of one sentence that asks a clear and simple question. However simple your research question may seem to you it will help inform your research agency of your research aims and will guide them when considering your initial research tactics.

How Long Does Market Research Take?

Research projects vary in their timescales depending upon the size of your sample and the detail you require from the data gathered. A large scale National postal survey could possibly take many months to complete compared with a small-scale piece of competitor research that only investigates ten of your key competitors and may only take a few weeks.

Once the information gathering and analysis of the data has been completed, your research agency will provide you with a report that details all of the stages of the research project from initial design to final analysis. They will detail their findings and make recommendations based upon the results of the research. The recommendations may also include suggestions for your future marketing or business plans and will give you an informed guide that will lead you directly to your potential markets.

By expanding your field of knowledge, market research will give you the necessary tools to make informed, clear and concise decisions.

What Does Market Research Cost?

In the past there was a perception that market research was something that only the huge organisations commissioned. In many respects this was true as there were a distinct lack of affordable agencies. Today market research is a realistic option for the budgets of even the smallest of companies. Professional services are available at reasonable rates, particularly when you consider that the results may help to direct funds more efficiently. As a rough guide you can expect to pay an agency upwards of £3,000 dependant upon the project.

Remember..

• Have a clear view of your business objectives

• Think of a research question (for example, What is the perception of our service levels by existing and recently lost clients?)

• Select a reputable agency with MRS (Market Research Society) accreditation

• Work with your research agency to get the most out of your research project.

• Always thoroughly read your research report and take note of your researchers verbatim responses.

• Include the research findings when considering all future strategies and plans.