• Who are your customers and potential customers?
• What kind of people are they?
• Where do they live?
• Can and will they buy the product you're offering?
• Are you offering the kinds of goods they want at the
best place, the best time and best amounts?
• Are your prices consistent with what the buyers view
as the products' values?
• Are you applying the promotional programs in a way
that will bring about success?
• Who are your competitors?
• Learning who your customers are and what they want.
• Learning how to reach your customer and how
frequently you should try to communicate with them.
• Learning which appeals are most effective and which
• Learning the relative successes of different marketing
strategies in relation to their return on investment.
1. Preparing the questions:
Who, if anyone, has a real need for the thing I propose to sell,
and how many of those potential customers are there?
How much, if anything, are they spending to address that need
today [and/or how much would they be willing to spend]?
Does my product meet that need in a manner that either saves
or makes them substantial amounts of money?
• These questions have a business focus, but they can be
generalized to handle any product. For example, in question 1,
no one had a "real need" for pet rocks or singing fish, yet
these products sold very well. So we might expand the
question to include "desires" and "whims" as well as needs.
• Similarly, in question 3, people often buy things for reasons
that have nothing to do with making or saving money. For
example, Egyptian cotton sheets neither make or save money,
but they feel good when you are falling asleep. So we can
expand question #3 to say, "Does the product appeal to a
customer in a way that would cause him or her to pull out the
wallet?" The word "appeal" can be very broad -- everything
from breast implants to chrome wheels to food processors can
fall into that category.
The goal of all of these questions is to gain
intimate knowledge of your customers. You
want to know exactly what they are thinking
and feeling, and why.
• Mobile surveys
• Online surveys
• Mixed-mode surveys
• Social Media Monitoring
• Census Data
• Association Data
• Annual Reports | www.annualreports.com
• Online access to annual reports
• Marketresearch.com | www.marketresearch.com
• Reports to purchase
• Quirks | www.quirks.com
• Magazine for market researchers
• Securities and Exchange Commission | www.sec.gov
• Corporate filings
• Valuation Resources |
• Free industry reports
SizeUp From the SBA –
Released last September
Collects industry information from hundreds of public data sources,
including Internal Revenue Service records, county courthouse filings,
telephone directories, annual reports and more. It pulls demographic data
and labor force data from a wide range of public and private sources,
including the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Postal Service and other
government agencies. The SizeUp database is deep, with information on
14 million businesses.