The six steps to conducting a consumer-based primary marketing research project are:
1. Defining the Problem: Start by defining the business problem, also known as the business issue. What problem are you trying to solve? What do you need to know? In defining the business problem, it is necessary to understand what is currently known about the situation. Look at data currently available. Examples of questions might include: “Are we getting the most from our advertising?” Or “what is the potential market for our new product?”
2. Developing the Research Objectives: After isolating the business problem, the research objectives are developed. Two or three aims or goals should be developed out of the business problem. What will help you learn what you need to know? Examples of research objectives might include: “Determining the effectiveness of advertising,” or “to test new product ideas or concepts.”
3. Planning the Research:Development of the research plan is next. This requires identifying the best way to answer the research question. It includes identifying the approach and the target as well as refining the informational needs. Research planning will answer questions of data sources, collection methods, and approach.
4. Collecting the Data: This is the actual gathering of data. Methods vary based on the business issue, informational needs and research plan. Final methods will be based on what you need to know.
5. Analyzing the Data: Data analysis means interpreting the data to answer the business question. This is as much an art as it is a science and requires some finesse to get the greatest possible return.
6. Using the Results: After analysis, implications of the data to the business problem are defined. What does the data suggest about the business problem? What recommendations can be made based on the results of the research?