Be Sure You Ask the Right People
By Michael Goodman, senior marketing and management consultant, MarketingProfs

When recruiting people for a market research study, Michael Goodman says it's critical that you select individuals who truly represent your target audience. There’s no sense, for instance, in asking people with limited disposable incomes to critique your luxury product. Likewise, affluent shoppers probably won’t have useful input for a discount store.

There are four essential groups to consider as you gather your research participants.

1. Current customers. If you need to understand your existing base, make sure your target group consists of individuals who mirror those currently buying your product or service.
2. Potential customers. Talk to people who aren’t currently buying your product but might be motivated to do so in the future.

3. Former customers. Keep current customers from walking out the door by learning why your past customers left.

4. Competitors' customers. It can be helpful to include those who currently use your competitors’ products since they can provide insights about how rivals solve problems and address needs.

Think carefully about the answers you want, and recruit respondents who can best provide them. You may want to use criteria such as:


• Behaviors

• Attitudes

• Current product usage

The Po!nt: Since small businesses are close to their customers and have a better knowledge of who fits into each group, you have the advantage over larger companies in this aspect of market research.

---Source: Reprinted from MarketringProfs June 22, 2007 issue ( Michael Goodman is a senior marketing and management consultant.





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