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Online Marketing Strategy Examples

Identifying legitimate places to collect reliable data about your market means that you need to ask the right questions. What are the qualifications of the person who collected the data first? What sources do they use? Can you check out the source for yourself to ensure that the way they reported it is right? 

Where to Find Reliable Data about Your Market 

Most of the time, you can assume the following sources are accurate, but you should always look to potential bias when others report their findings.

  • Government – Websites that end with .gov are usually very accurate with the information they provide. The reason is that they have to be unbiased with the information they collect and report, and they understand how to do it right.
  • Industry Associations – While some industry associations might put out some biased information toward their industry, their methods of collecting the raw data are usually very open. You can typically trust an industry association for accurate data.
  • Trade Groups – The same applies to trade groups. Of course, they want to represent their trade well, but that is the only place their bias exists. They collect the information in ways that lend themselves to accurate reporting.
  • Business Magazines – Generally, business magazines that are well known and are real publications and not just advertorials in disguise will have accurate information that you can use to get started with collecting your data. If nothing else, they may lead you to more sources.
  • Academic Institutions – Usually, these websites end in .edu and will produce accurate information collected ethically. You can find the info online, but you can also visit their libraries most times. You can access academic information and scholarly information via Google Scholar. 
  • News Sources – Sources like The New York Times and other reputable newspapers are great places to start your research. While you should take care with opinion pieces, even slanted and biased opinion pieces can get you started if they list their sources so that you can go straight to the information. Typically, newspapers have fact-checkers, the information is accurate most of the time.
  • Third-Party Research Groups – Some companies do research independently about various industries and information. These are excellent places to look for great information about your industry to help you answer your questions. One very reputable group is Pew Research Center.

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  • Individual Experts – You can also get information from well-connected and well-credentialed individuals known as experts in their field. Not only is this a great way to get the right information for your research, but it’s also primary data which is a lot more beneficial than secondary data.

Finding reliable data for your research about your market is an essential step to conducting market research. You need the right information at the right time to answer your questions and help you move your business forward.

What to Look At When Conducting Market Research

When you’re conducting market research, it’s important to know what you’re looking at and looking for. The more you’re ready in advance before you start your research, the more likely your research will be accurate.

  • Define Your Problem – When you conduct market research, you need first to define the problem and identify the research aim you’re trying to accomplish. Knowing these things in advance will be helpful.

  • Design the Project First – Think about all the questions you may have and how you’ll get the answers. Some you’ll be able to get via primary research, others via secondary research. Will you use a focus group, a survey, or something else?

  • Know What Question You’re Trying to Answer – When you research, you need to have a list prepared of the questions you want to answer before you even start. This is going to help direct the research that you do.
  • Look for Official Sources – The best thing to do is to look for government data, trade publication data, and industry data from reputable sources. Your sources are the most important aspect of your information because they will determine whether or not your research is accurate.
  • Start with Secondary Research – It seems strange, but the best research to start with is secondary research, which has already been conducted. Find out what answers you can get from other people’s work first. Then use those results to inform your primary research.
  • End with Primary Research – After you’ve done your secondary research, it’s easier to design your primary research to get the best results. The results you need will depend on the questions you have so far.
  • Collect and Combine the Information – Once you’ve collected all the information you need in the methods you’ve chosen, you need to put it all together and combine it. A lot of market research is both creative and scientific, and it’s best to use both. You don’t want the research to be stifled. 
  • Analyze and Present – As you conduct your research, always remember and keep in mind what you are looking for as a result. How you plan to use the information matters a great deal. Is it going to be used internally or externally? 

When you conduct market research, you need to know what to look for, and how it starts is that you know what you want the result to be. You know what questions the research will answer and how you’ll use them.

Who Should Conduct Your Market Research?

There are times to do it yourself and times when you might want to outsource for market research. Market research can take a lot of time away from you doing your core business sometimes. This is especially true if you have a tiny business without a huge marketing department. 

Should You Outsource?

To determine if you should outsource, consider these questions.

  • Do You Have the Time? – If it’s just you, chances are you do not have the time to earn money and conduct market research. If you’re in the start-up stage and haven’t started taking on clients, then you’ll need to determine if you have the time to do it. 
  • What Is Your Budget? – Can you come up with the budget to pay someone to conduct market research for you? The cost will vary depending on whether you hire a marketing firm or hire a virtual assistant to do your assigned tasks.
  • What Are Your Goals? – If you’re not sure of your goals, then you may need to take out time to determine what they are before you conduct or have someone else conduct the research. Knowing the research goals will help the person conducting it set up the right process for collecting data.

Questions to Ask If You Outsource

When you choose someone else to do your research, which you don’t direct but a full-service firm, you want to ask these questions.

  • Does the Firm Have Experience in Your Industry? It can tempt you to hire any firm to do your research, but you need to hire someone in your industry and your industry. If you hire someone who does not know about your industry, they may do it wrong. 
  • How Much Control Do You Need? Whether you can stomach hiring out your market research will depend a lot on your personality. Some people need a lot of control. In that case, design the research yourself and then hire helpers to carry out your direction. 
  • What Contacts Do You Have? – It’s imperative to establish contacts in your field to help when you want to conduct market research. You can interview them or get information about a firm or person to hire to help you conduct market research.
  • Is Your Business Stuck? – If you’ve tried in the past to research on your own, but your results have not improved your profit margin, then it might be time to bring in the big guns. Once you have a better idea of what is possible via the market research that the experts conduct, you’ll know whether your business goals are even possible.

The important thing is to do market research. Whether you do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you, get it done. Do it right, and do it without preconceived notions. The best market research will change your mind about what works and what doesn’t work in your business to make major changes that get results.

Online Marketing Strategy Examples

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