Primary Versus Secondary Marketing Research

             Within marketing, primary research instruments can be designed to meet a company's unique, specific, or time-sensitive needs. Examples of primary research include surveys; interviews; and focus groups. Using primary research allows a company to gather information on a target market, e.g., what a focus group of "target market" participants thinks about a product or service before its actual introduction. Through using a survey as a primary research tool, a company can elicit feedback on products, services, and/or ways of changing or improving products. Focus groups; surveys, and interviews also help companies gather information on public receptivity to a new item or service. Prices prospective consumers might pay for future goods or services may also be researched using any (or all) of these types of primary research.

             Secondary research, on the other hand, consists of locating and analyzing, previous studies or documents that could be germane to one's own business needs. Government studies; articles from business, marketing, management or trade journals; web sites; trade association or organizational newsletters, Chamber of Commerce or Census Bureau studies, and newspaper and magazine articles are secondary research materials. Secondary research is most useful for investigating new markets; or for increasing or expanding current ones. Secondary research is also potentially useful for investigating financial, demographic, or other issues that affect or might affect one's business. Secondary research materials are available in public; university, or professional libraries; online (as websites, articles, links, or other resources); or in newspapers, magazines, and trade, academic, and professional journals. Secondary research is less costly than primary research, which one must generally tailor to one's own purposes. However, secondary research is, obviously, not geared toward one's own company's needs, questions, or concerns.

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