For business people to make knowledgeable marketing decisions, they need accurate and up-to-date information. Market research is defined as the systematic gathering, recording and analyzing of data to determine the best marketing strategies for your goods and services. Its purpose is to help entrepreneurs make better decisions and avoid committing costly mistakes. The time and dollars spent on marketing research, regarded by many small businesses as frivolous, can be extremely valuable. This information may highlight unknown opportunities or expose possible risky situations.
The research process of assessing the market should provide useful information which will help focus your marketing efforts, providing insight into:
- present and future potential markets (what consumers are buying or prefer and possible future trends);
- strengths and weaknesses of your competition;
- economic forecasts; and,
- your own business (by becoming an expert).
In many cases this business information can be gathered at no charge. The following are sources which may have information for your industry.
- Government of Canada Publication
- Statistics Canada, e.g. Market Research Handbook, Census publications, Family Expenditures in Canada
- Industry Canada, Strategis web site
- Provincial Government Publications
- Departments or ministries responsible for industry, trade and commerce, and those targeting specific sectors, e.g. agriculture, environment
- Periodicals and Books
- Canadian Business Index
- Financial Post Survey of Industries
- Dun and Bradstreet Key Business Ratios in Canada
- Sales and Marketing Management magazine
- Advertising Age
- Various industry directories
- Trade Associations and Other Publications
- Canadian Advertising Rates and Data (CARD) lists all media in Canada and their rates
- Canadian Media Directors’ Council Media Digest provides basic information on the market and media habits of Canadians
- Tomorrow’s Customers (Woods Gordon) talks about trends in the marketplace
- Trade journals for various industries provide specific information on trends, competition and happenings in the industry
- Trade shows are a great way to learn more about your competition and how they market their products or services.
- Other sources of information:
- Board of Trade, City hall, Chambers of Commerce
- Business or trade associations
- Universities or colleges
- Yellow Pages