Secondary research exploits existing resources like company records, surveys, research studies and books and applies the information to answer the question at hand. It is normally less time consuming than primary research, and can be less expensive as well. While secondary research is less targeted than primary research, it can yield valuable information and answer some questions that are not practical to address through primary research (such as assessing macroeconomic conditions) or questions that may make customers uncomfortable if asked directly (such as questions on age and income levels).
What are the current economic conditions that my business is operating in? Are these conditions changing?
- International, national, provincial and local economic conditions
- What trends are influencing the industry my business operates in?
- Consumer preferences
- Technological shifts
- Prices for goods and services
- Are there international markets for my products or services that could help me to grow my business?
- What are the demographic characteristics of my customers or where do they live?
- Populations, age groups, income levels, etc.
- What is the state of the labor market?
- How many people have the skills I require?
- How much should I expect to pay my employees
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
When conducting research there are some questions you may want to answer, and primary or secondary research will help you find the answers. Some of the questions you can consider include:
Who is My Customer?
- Knowing who your customer is will help you choose a location, establish pricing, and plan a selling strategy. Ask yourself: Who will buy my product? What are my customer’s habits and preferences?
Is There a Demand for My Product/Service?
- Make sure that your product or service is meeting the needs of your customers.
Who is My Competition?
- Determine who your major competitors are, try to locate their strengths and weaknesses, and see how your business compares.
Where Are My Customers Located?
- Knowing where your potential customers are located will help you choose a location, what kind of promotions to use, and other marketing strategies. It can also help you learn about changes in your industry and how those changes could impact sales.
What Will I Charge?
- The goal for your business is to maximize your profits while remaining competitive. Pricing can play a large part in the success of your business, so you will want to consider what your competitors are charging for similar products and services and if you can maintain your prices over time.
How Should I Promote My Product/Service?
- Ensure that you are using the most effective methods to promote your business. When deciding on a promotional strategy consider what your competitors are doing and what kind of media would best suit your customer (for example, online media for a teen market).
- Finding the data that can help you with your business decisions can be difficult, and some of the data can be expensive to purchase. There are, however, a number of affordable statistical and analytical resources available to you, as well as guidance to help you make sense of all the materials available.