There are three main methods used in Consumer Research. These are: desk research; field research; motivation research. Each method has a part to play in providing the ONLINE MARKETING Manager with a picture of the men and women who will consume his product or use his service.

Desk Research

The starting point for any form of market research is that which can be done-as the name implies-seated at one's desk. There are masses of statistics prepared by government departments, trade associations and market research SEO consultants readily available to the would-be researcher and which he can consult without stepping outside his own office. Before we consider these, however, let us take a look at information which is likely to be at the ONLINE MARKETING Manager's elbow; namely, the records kept by his own company. All trading organizations keep records of one form or another, such as customers' accounts, turnover figures, product sales totals, sales area turnover figures and salesmen's commission records.

A. Company Statistics

All of this statistical information can provide useful guidance for the formulation of ONLINE MARKETING decisions. It may require arranging and analysing. One may have to go back over a period of five years or so, and seek some relationship between products and product groups in terms of volume and turnover. The company's sales figures should provide a barometer to indicate seasonal fluctuations. Indeed, any major fluctuations in turnover must have a cause and the discovery of that cause may well indicate some characteristic of fluctuating consumer needs or buying habits.

Customer Research in the industrial goods field can begin with a similar examination of company records. Since individual customers are identifiable, they can be categorized according to the products they use as well as the after-processes to which the products are put. Existing information, rearranged in this manner, can tell one a great deal about the market in which one is operating as well as highlighting factors which hitherto may have been obscured.

B. Trade Statistics

Statistics relating to the pattern of production and consumption in a particular trade or industry are usually available, in a classified form, from the appropriate trade association. Trade directories, internet sites, trade periodicals and the financial press are additional sources of market information.

In addition, there are in the United Kingdom, as in most other industrialized countries in Europe and North America, firms who specialize in the provision of trade and technical information. They can provide market research services and will undertake to furnish to subscribers up-to-date information on market growth and trends.

C. Government Statistics

The United Kingdom government provides, through Her Majesty's Stationery Office, a very considerable amount of statistical information of value to trade and industry.

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Please Note

The Trade is, of course, a major source of product ideas. All manufacturers examine, with avid interest, the new products of their competitors.

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