Here in Central NY, at Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS), we do all types of market research for small, mid-size, and large corporations across the country. If you came across this blog post and you are a small business owner, you may say to yourself, “I know I should do market research, I want to do market research, but I can’t afford it.  Larger corporations have the budget for it, so that’s why they can do it.”

I argue that larger firms understand the importance of doing market research, and that’s why they do it, on top of having a budget for it. Oftentimes, small business owners do not understand the Return on Investment (ROI) of market research.  RMS started out as a small business in 2002, so we recognize more than anyone that budgets are tight.  Marketing budgets are the first thing to be cut during tough times.

Here are some important things to keep in mind if you are part of a small or mid-size business (or starting a business) in Syracuse, NY and you are considering market research:

  1. The Market Research Scope is Flexible –Quite often, RMS can customize the market research to fit any budget.  There are a multitude of qualitative and quantitative methodologies to gather the information you need.  For example, you need a better understanding of why your customers use competitive products/services.  Instead of RMS doing a recommended 400 complete online surveys with your customers and asking them who/why/when they use competitive products/services, RMS can work with you to do a limited number of mystery shops with competitors and our analysts can report back the results.  Limiting the number of mystery shops instead of doing a major quantitative study will cost less, yet still offer actionable results.
  2. You’ll Need to have a Strong Understanding of the Market – Spending the money upfront on market research can easily develop into a long-term advantage for your business.  Local markets can vary, it is important to have a good understanding of your community, local customers, and their purchasing patterns.  Understanding the needs of your potential customers is extremely important; matching those needs to your products and services will determine the success of the business. For example, RMS can complete a comprehensive feasibility study for your business – including a competitive overview, supply/demand analysis, price point analysis for your product/service, a needs assessment, and recommendations for your business.
  3. Increase your ROI for Advertising – If you are already doing advertising you are on the right path.  In most cases, any advertising is good advertising.  For example, your company has run  some direct mail pieces, did some radio ads, and ran a few TV ads and you are seeing 120% return on your investment.  Without a doubt, business owners would be happy with that ROI.  However, if we did some market research for your business and told you how to best allocate those advertising dollars and told you what messages would resonate most with your customers, you could see a ROI of 200%.  In most cases, the 80% gain more than covers the cost for a short image and awareness survey.
  4. Catch Problems Before they Snowball – If your business is off to a slow start or you are three years in and still struggling to gain ground, you are not alone.  However, your business has some issues that you need to address.  Market research can address them for you.  For example, your business started off great, but year after year your revenue declines by 5-10%.  Yet there are no new competitors in your area.  RMS can survey your past customers and discover why they’ve stopped using your business.  We can analyze the data and make recommendations to help you gain back your market share.

Market research for a business is invaluable.  A business can fail for a variety of reasons, many of which can be avoided or mitigated through the use of market researchMarket research can answer many, if not all questions that a business owner has.  There is an endless amount of market research that can help small and mid-size businesses.  In the end, the short and long-term values of market research prove time and time again to be much more than the cost.