Market Research

market research

The quality of the business decisions you take is dependent upon the quality of the information you have.

The profitable development of a company can only come from the continual attempt to match the company's capabilities with customer needs. In order that a company can be sure that this matching process is taking place effectively, it is necessary for some type of information flow to be organised between the customer and the company.

I have been involved in the production of a large number of market research projects over the years and one thing has always been true - I have always learnt important pieces of market information that have enabled me to make wiser business decisions. As a consequence market research has always provided excellent value for money.

Market research need not be expensive; even a small focus group can produce invaluable information. And many people (customers) are more than willing to attend such an event simply because you have demonstrated a clear interest in hearing their views.
Most people like to share their opinions with others!

Market research can be either quantitative or qualitative.


Quantitative. This is designed to produce quantitative numbers on customer behaviour, attitudes or needs. For example the research might clarify that 35% of customers preferred option X, 48% preferred option Y, and 17% were not interested in either option. To acquire data like this you would generally require a large number of customers (respondents).
Simple telephone survey?


Qualitative. This is designed to produce qualitative information on customer behaviour, attitudes or needs.

For example the research might give you a much clearer insight into the way a customer considers the purchase of a certain product.
What he knows about the product category.
How well he understands the advantages of the product.
Misconceptions of the product.
The production of this research might involve the use of a focus group where only six to eight people are sat around a table and invited to discuss their views on your (carefully chosen and controlled) questions.

One of the topics I discussed elsewhere in this web site is the appropriate pitching of sales literature for customers. As the owner of a small business, I have absolutely no doubt that you fully understand how your products work. Unfortunately, there is a tendency to produce sales literature which assumes that the reader has the same level of knowledge and the same level of enthusiasm for your products as you do. In my experience this shared level of knowledge and enthusiasm is rare. Likewise if you are the supplier of a product with technical aspects your are quite likely to be technically orientated and as such will believe that its these technical aspects that are of greatest interest to your customers; whereas the customer is much more interested in how easy the product is to use, its instruction booklet, and your company's support packages.

This was exactly the circumstances I encountered in my work with a leading installation company of electronic security equipment. The company was, as you would expect, dominated by very clever engineers who were always striving to make available to their customers the most recent "gadget" because they assumed their customers were as technically orientated as they were. My research with their customers said something quite different. Their customers believed the current service delivery was very poor in some areas (especially the support services for the more complicated "gadgets") and what they wanted most of all was a simpler security system that was easier for them to use and that was supported by a rapid and efficient engineer call out service.

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The following are a number of testimonials from satisfied clients. We are really pleased to receive these testimonials, and proudly list them here.

Thanks for the website Ian.
As you stated, I have had a steady stream of enquiries since setting me up on the internet.
Morning Ian, just a short note to say 'thankyou' for the work on my website. Not only am I pleased with the way it looks, but I could not believe it when I got my first enquiry from it only a few days after its completion. All you said would happen has indeed happened.
Thank you very much for your kind help. It is really a good advice for my marketing plan.

Thanks and best regards,
Hi Ian Just a short note to tell you we have had a very good season, an excellent sales increase so we should be ok now the autumn is here and going very soon into Winter.. . . . . . . . .
Thanks Ian. The website has certainly increased our Bookings and we look forward to next year.
Best Wishes
I am not really interested in getting back in to PPC as it cost a lot of money last time for not a lot of return. We have been without it for over a year and what you are doing is still increasing visits and turnover on the site.
Sports Outlets
Just a quick note to say I’m very interested in maintaining the website you have completed a marvellous job of so far. We are already noticing a complete change and receiving a lot higher internet inquires.
Thanks Ian
Hello Ian, came across your website via a Google search and wanted to say how impressed I am! The marketing plan template arrived within seconds of my request - it is clear, tremendously helpful and has provided me with the structure I desperately lacked as I prepare to kick off my new business on 1st September! A really super service, am sure I will be in touch again over the coming weeks to discuss other elements of your offer.

Thanks and regards

....... I have also noticed the success of extra clicks! Business is also up by at least 15 percent from last year. Regards
Owner (Dry Cleaners)

I would just like to bring a ray of sunshine to your day (well it did for me).
Since we started to work with Ian Smith, our Adwords guru, our results have improved impressively. These figures are the average across the board, ..
Our Click through rate has gone from 1% to a very credible 4.5%
Our average cost per click has dropped from 87p to 63p (just remember some clicks are still £2+).
Our average position has gone from 5.4 to 4.6
So all in all a very good result and with further input we hope to do even better.
Interior Design Retailer