This blog post was written by our guest blogger Mark Dengler, President and Owner of Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) Inc. – a market research vendor in Syracuse, NY.

As a small business owner, you may know you should do market research, you may want to do market research, but you think you can’t afford it.  While larger corporations have a larger budget, the reason they conduct market research is because the firms understand the importance of doing market research. Oftentimes, small business owners do not understand the Return on Investment (ROI) of market research.

Market research for small businesses

RMS started out as a small business in 2002, so we recognize more than anyone that budgets are tight, and that marketing budgets are the first thing to be cut during tough times.  Having said that, here are some important things to keep in mind if you are part of a small or mid-size business (or starting a business) and 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.

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, and 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.

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.  However, determining the best way to allocate those advertising dollars and determining what messages would resonate most with customers could increase ROI significantly.

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, market research can determine the problems your company is facing and make recommendations to help you gain 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 research.  Market 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.

Mark Dengler is the president of Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) a market research firm located in Syracuse. For more information about RMS, visit or call (315) 635-9802.