Dealing With Market Research Problems

For those out there who run their own business, especially a service based business, or do a lot of the sales and proposal work, I am sure that you have been involved with a potential client or tried to work up a proposal that you just cannot seem to get quite right.

I am currently in that predicament.  As I write this blog, I am working on a proposal that I feel like is one of the toughest I have ever written.  The potential client is a great opportunity and the conversations I have had so far, make me want to really work on the project.  However, the situation I find myself in is trying to figure out how to deliver the best market research project with a difficult set of criteria.  A lot of it has to do with problems that we try to work around, and sometimes, not so successfully.

  •  Not beginning the project with a clear research objective.  You need to understand that a market research project is only as good as the questions you are trying to answer.  Developing great reports and having cool results does you no good if it does not solve the problem you were trying to solve.
  • Having small sample sizes.  Now, some research will just bread small samples, especially if there was a limited pool of potential respondents.  If that is the case, then just understand the shortcomings of the data.  Yes, there is always the issue of insufficient samples sizes not generating statistically significant results.  But, if you are trying to solve a large number if issues or wanting to look at answers by subgroups, then initially small sample sizes make this nearly impossible.
  • Having hard to find samples.   The project I am working on is likely one of the hardest samples I have tried to gather.  And I have had some hard ones.  If they are hard to find, you will likely have many of the same problems as the small samples I talked about above.
  • Trying to use the wrong type of research because it seems easier.  I have written previously about trying to incorporate quantitative research into qualitative research and vice-versa.  However, doing a focus group when a survey is really the best approach not only is a waste of time and money, it will lead to poor research and the likelihood of more questions being asked.

So, before you have trouble and have problems with your market research project, be sure to think about some of these things before you start.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at

About J. Nolfo
Well...there is a lot to know. #Cx, #Analytics, #SM, Specialty #AgChem, #StL sports, & more. FT @BASFAgProducts. @Mizzou Alum. Supporter of the #Rhino. Tweets my own. #SMMW17 attendee....Dad...Hiker...Scouter...and so much more.

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