4 Questions To Ask Yourself When Starting Market Research

Market ResearchI am a big promoter of market research in all forms and in all types of businesses.  Research can help in start-ups, small companies and large Fortune 500 type companies.  Although I am a big proponent of using market research, I am a bigger proponent of using market research wisely.

Why?  Because I have seen money wasted in the name of market research when the company did not know what they were truly trying to understand.

Here are 4 tips to think about when starting about market research in your business.

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Don’t Forget To Evaluate Marketing

MarketingMost of the business I talk to, they each worry, consciously or unconsciously, about two things, sales and marketing.  Now, they may worry about other things within their business, as well.  However, they all seem to worry about these two.  Nearly a year ago, I wrote two blogs about using market research to improve marketing (you can check them out here and here).

In these two blogs, I wrote about about using market research to evaluate your marketing program.  However, in those discussions, there was an assumption that companies are actually evaluating their marketing.  It is said that companies know that 50% of their marketing budget is ineffective, however, they do not know which 50%.

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An Open Letter To All 200+ Million LinkedIn Users: Correctly Invite Someone To Your Network

LinkedInDear LinkedIn and All LinkedIn Users,

I am writing to you today because of a problem that I am seeing occur more and more.  For me, the problem has become more pervasive, and more of a nuisance, over the past 24 months as I have tried to proactively grow my network, not only in size, but also in quality of people both inside and outside of the industries I am involved in.

I am concerned as now that LinkedIn has grown to over 200 million users, the problem is going to be more of an issue as more people get on LinkedIn and start to use it on a regular basis.  Maybe it is because no one has educated the masses of users.  Maybe it is because some have lost any sense of off line networking and do nothing but online social media based networking.  Maybe it is because some people are just plain rude.

The issue is simple: Sending a generic request to connect on LinkedIn.

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Your Mission, If You Choose To Accept It: Never Stop Learning

Adult StudentsAlbert Einstein once said, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”  I could not agree more.

Over the past three weeks, I have been taking an online class associated with Coursera.  If you are not familiar with Coursera, it is a social entrepreneurship company that has partnered with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.  They envision a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions.  Their technology enables the best professors to teach tens or hundreds of thousands of students.

The class I am taking is Computing for Data Analysis, taught by a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  The class focuses on the “R” statistical language.  Now I will have to admit I am not a programmer.  Nor have I really had any class in programming in any language (well a BASIC class in high school does not really count).  But, I will have to admit the class is kicking my butt.

So who would I intentionally put myself through this torture?

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Understanding Accrual Accounting

cash accrual accounting

Credit: Dreamstime

You all get a treat today, a guest blog by financial executive, Charles Seeman.  He wrote a great case study previously on this blog that get a lot of attention.  So, without further ado…

When I was a young junior staff accountant for a large regional CPA firm I, like all other junior staff people, were assigned to do “write up” work for some of our clients. Some of the older business people would play a game with junior staff accountants like me where they would tell us that they can guess the final net income number and be within a couple of thousand dollars of what is calculated by accrual accounting. At their skill at this amazed me, but after a while, I understood completely how this was done.

The purpose of this blog entry is to help young entrepreneurs understand and thus be able to predict how their business is doing. I want to help young entrepreneurs avoid the trials and tribulations that those older business owners endured to learn the skills necessary to be able to truly understand their business and how revenues and costs work. Read more of this post

Have You Laid Out Your Market Research Plans For The Year?

Market ResearchThe first month of the year is almost half over.  Have you laid out your market research plans for the year yet?

In a blog post I wrote about a month ago, I stated that then was the best time to plan for the research projects for the new year.  Now should be the time to implement these.

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A New Year and A New Blog Title

blogYep…believe it or not.

This blog did have a title “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business”.  Thought the name was a good idea.  But the word “pensare”, which is Italian for “think”, has nothing to do with anything else on this site or what I do.

So as we anticipate new and big things for 2013 we needed a new big name.  And the new name is….

The Rhino Crash Blog…Understanding Market Research in Business

A crash of rhinoceroses is a group of rhinoceroses.  I personally think it is the coolest of all group of animal names.  Would you really want to be part of a herd or a gaggle?

Crash Of Rhinos

Now, for you regular subscribers, you will not see any difference in the amount of postings, two per week.  But, what you will see are some new changes including more guest bloggers and a wider variety of topics on the Thursday blogs.  Also, if you have any ideas on topics you would like to see, or if you would like to guest blog, just let me know by emailing me at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

I look forward to a new year of blogging in 2013 including the first one of the year, which looks back at what happened in 2012 in the areas of the market, employment, retail sales, the economy, and housing.  Then one jut a few days later about expectations for 2013.

–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 “The Rhino Crash Blog…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 jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

What If Market Research Says “No”?

NoBeing a numbers guy, I look at the analytics and data of my website and blog on a fairly regular basis.  One of the things I always look at is the “search engine terms” section on my site stats to see how people are organically getting to the site and blog.  One day last week, I saw the phrase “if market research says no” as one of the search terms.  After doing a few moments of digging, the original person who searched these terms on my blog went to this posting.  However, I am sure, it has little to do with what I think they were looking for.

When I meet with someone for the first time to talk about market research, I talk about the possibility of what happens when the research comes back to tell them that “their baby is ugly” and that they should not proceed with the opportunity that they are pursuing.

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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. Read more of this post

How Social Media is Effectively Changing Our Lives

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Its The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

I hope you had a great Halloween yesterday and you did not fill up on too much of the kids’ candy.  As I sit here watching a Halloween classic, “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (made in 1966), and reading through tweets and online news articles, articles about Hurricane Sandy (#Frankenstorm) and the latest political discussions, I am realizing how divergent the two really are.

Also, I am in realization that there are literally, millions of people without electricity right now.  However, even with this inconvenience, they are completely up to date on their weather, electricity status, and all that is important to them because of their smart phones and social media.
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