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U.S. Small Business Administration MT-8 RESEARCHING YOUR MARKET Marketing Series _________________________________________________________________ Contributors to research and text J. Ford Laumer Jr., James R. Harris, Hugh J. Guffey Jr., Vaughan C. Judd Associate Professors of Marketing Auburn University Auburn, Alabama Robert C. Erffmeyer, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Marketing Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, Kentucky While we consider the contents of this publication to be of general merit, its sponsorship by the U.S. Small Business Administration does not necessarily constitute an endorsement of the views and opinions of the authors or the products and services of the companies with which they are affiliated. All of SBA's programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. _________________________________________________________________ TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION TRASH AND PEANUTS WHAT IS MARKETING RESEARCH? WHY DO IT? HOW TO DO IT Define the Problem (or Opportunity) Assess Available Information Gather Additional Information Outside Data Organize and Interpret Data Make a Decision and Take Action Assess the Results of the Action What You Can do Do, Don't Overdo BIBLIOGRAPHY
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U.S. Government Publications U.S. Small Business Administration Bureau of the Census Other Agencies APPENDIX: INFORMATION RESOURCES _________________________________________________________________ INTRODUCTION To be successful, a small business must know its market. Marketing research is simply an orderly, objective way of learning about people -- the people who buy from you or might buy from you. This publication provides an overview of what market research is and how it's done. It introduces inexpensive techniques that small business owner-managers can apply to gather facts about their customers and the people they'd like to have for customers. _________________________________________________________________ TRASH AND PEANUTS Some marketing research material is nothing but trash. Marketing research can be done for peanuts -- even with peanuts. Shocking statements? Perhaps, but both of them are literally true. Take trash, for instance. Inspection of outgoing waste is a practice at many small restaurants. People may order the Flounder a la Marzipan because of the novelty of the dish; but if a restaurateur finds most of it leaving the table uneaten, it had better come off the menu because it won't be in demand much longer. You can use trash positively, too, to find out what people like. It may not be very dignified to check trash cans for cartons and containers, but they are a direct indication of what consumers are buying. You could also find out what competitors are selling (or at least ordering) by checking their trash. The point here isn't to turn you into a scavenger, but to suggest that marketing research isn't necessarily only done by sophisticated staffs of statistical technicians working with powerful computers and grinding up figures from elegant surveys.
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