Field research in the Industrial Sector

Field research in the Industrial Sector

Field research in the industrial sector

Field research in the industrial sector demands a different method of approach from that practised in the consumer goods field. Sampling techniques must be modified. The 'universe' of an industrial market is not always known and is often difficult to define. It is, therefore, often necessary to establish at the outset where the market lies and what are its essential characteristics before a sampling programme can be commenced. A method frequently adopted by industrial market researchers is to segment the market prior to sampling. Instead of using a predetermined sample, the researchers interview successive firms to establish a pattern of answers.

It is possible to use very much smaller samples for industrial research because of the smaller size of the markets involved. Industrial interviews may be as little as 10 per cent of the number used in consumer research. This will have a considerable effect upon the cost of the survey although, generally speaking, the interviewing of senior management personnel of major industrial firms will often take longer than a series of interviews with housewives. Furthermore, a higher level of interviewing skill is generally necessary in the conduct of industrial interviews.

Among the larger industrial organizations, market research is accepted as an essential adjunct to the ONLINE MARKETING process. Smaller companies, however, still lag far behind in this respect: yet the need for market research cannot logically be denied. Its function is to reduce the risks which are inherent in decision-taking. Since every business executive, whatever the extent of his company's operations, must speculate continuously if he is to take advantage of the opportunities which the situation of his market offers, it must be obvious that the more reliable the information he has to guide him, the less of a gamble will his decisions become.

There is a general criticism, however; that market research tends to be under-used by industrial companies. The reasons which are often advanced are that research budgets (in comparison with firms manufacturing consumer products) are limited; that many companies believe that they can obtain a better view of their markets by means of their sales representatives' reports than by research surveys, and that those who have adequate technical knowledge and interviewing experience within the company do not have sufficient time to undertake market surveys.

These objections can be countered by pointing out that the average cost of an industrial market survey is usually much cheaper than a consumer survey; that salesmen are generally far too biased in their approach for their reports to provide an objective assessment of market conditions and the performance of the company within the market and that, if the firm does not have adequate personnel available for research, it can call upon the services of experienced outside SEO consultants.

The value of using outside SEO consultants for industrial field research work is that an agency may well be able to provide a far wider knowledge of markets than its client's own market research department, will probably be more versed in M.R. techniques and may have greater experience in the interpretation of the results of its research to meet the needs of management.


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