The Basics of Getting Your Study Off the Ground

Marketing research studies can be intimidating for first-timers, but we can boil down the preparation process down to four steps. Last week, we discussed why marketing research is important and how it can make an impact on small businesses. Now we’ll take a look at how you can get your research study off the ground.

You must first establish your overarching purpose: for example, whether or not you want to add a delivery service to your restaurant business. Once you have established this purpose, you can use these four ingredients to help you execute.

1.    Research Tool

To define your research tool, you will first need to identify if you need qualitative or quantitative data in order to answer your research question. Once you have identified your needs, you can begin selecting from a number of different research methods including surveys, focus groups, interviews, ethnographies, and much more. Each method brings its own pros and cons to the table and must be evaluated on their suitability for your own objective.

You could utilize a quantitative survey to identify how many times your customers order takeout from your restaurant, how many times they order takeout in general, and how many times they order delivery, in general, to begin sizing the opportunity for introducing delivery at your own restaurant.

2.    Audience

Next, you will want to determine exactly who you want to speak to in order to attain the right data. You will need to look at what kind of people you need and how many of them you will need to speak to in order to get significant data. A helpful tip is to always go back to your original purpose to help you define what audience you need to speak to in order to answer your question.

This could mean submitting a survey to every customer who has ordered takeout from your restaurant in the last six months, meaning you are targeting customers who have already demonstrated an interest in food-to-go.

3.    Specific Objective/Reason

Each individual research study will need to have a more specific objective in order to be focused and effective. This construct will be more targeted than your overall purpose and will also inform the other ingredients, particularly the last ingredient: types of questions asked.

For our hypothetical study, this could mean seeking to understand your customers’ existing appetite for food-to-go, thus further helping you to size the opportunity.

4.    Types of Questions Asked

The last ingredient you must consider is how you will actually operationalize your research construct. With this ingredient, you will determine exactly what kinds of questions you need to get the data to answer your research question.

Rounding out our hypothetical study, we could operationalize our construct by creating metrical questions utilizing natural scales to get more specific data on our audience’s restaurant consumption patterns.

Designing with the End in Mind

One last tip is to keep your desired endpoint in mind as you work your way through defining each ingredient. By keeping in mind what kind of data we want to see and how we would like to see it, we can optimize our research study development process.

By creating effective research studies, we can get the most out of our research investments and begin creating more effective business practices.

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