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Using Internet Market Research to Understand Your Target Market

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/20/2006 | Business and Finance
As an entrepreneur, you need to understand your market before starting your business or before proposing a new product or service. Internet Market Research is an appropriate tool for such a task. Using this tool can help you carry out your market research at a very reasonable cost.

The definition of a business marketing policy is essential for its development and success. The quality of such a definition depends on the quality of the target market research. In addition to providing a better understanding of the market, such research will also facilitate the development of a quality business plan and help you reach your business goals.

Until recently, most small businesses were unable to carry out market research, often because of the high cost. However, the emergence of new research techniques has made market research much more accessible and affordable.

Internet Market Research is such a technique. It has become much more reliable, in contrast to previous years. In fact, thanks to the large growth of the number of Internet surfers and advanced data collection techniques, market research companies now have more opportunities than ever to obtain representative samples for their target market. Research quality depends considerably on such samples. As of 2005, according to the "European Association of Marketing Study and Research" (ESOMAR), two-thirds of the quantitative research was carried out on the Internet.

The use of the Internet as a means of data collection simplifies the market researchers work. It allows for a considerable reduction in delays and costs, and makes such research financially affordable to small business and home business.

Example - Someone interesting in writing about business travel would need to study the market before starting to work. The writer would need to evaluate the market and discover exactly what audience and topics each magazine, e-zine, newspaper, etc. targets. The writer could then order a poll on the Internet - at a very reasonable price - that researches the needs and interests of business travelers, such as the destinations they visit and services they require. Having such market knowledge can greatly increase the writers chance of getting published.

Some of the key advantages of Internet Market Research are as follows:

- attract rare, high-demand markets with precision and accuracy

- transfer all types of documents (photos, pictures, sounds, etc.)

- tap into remote target markets (essential for an export business)

- tap into a wealth of private and business research panel information

The final evaluation of the information collected by your Internet Market Research should provide the following benefits:

- identify the needs and expectations of your current and potential customers

- understand the evolution of the customers purchasing habits

- discover your competitions strong and weak points

The improved understanding of your market will enable you to refine your range of products and services, and improve the distribution and communication policies of your business. You will soon be attracting new customers, maintaining current customers, and reaching your business goals.