As we outlined in our previous article on education market research, defining exactly what problems you’d like your market research initiative to address is an important first step in the process. Whether it’s a customer service issue, a sales question, or a matter of cost, you’ll first need to pinpoint the problem you’d like your research efforts to help solve.
It’s time to plan your attack. That means determining not only how you want to obtain your research, but what you’re able to obtain — whether you’ll be limited by budget, sample size or other factors. So the first thing you’ll have to do is assess your team’s education in market research and establish what you’re able to spend. Once that’s done, you can move on to planning the actual market research process.
All you need is a rough idea of what that process will be in order to choose the right education market research team to execute it. Of course, if you have an in-house team, you may not need to concern yourself with this aspect of the planning stage. But if it’s a big project and you have the budget for it, it might be helpful to enlist the assistance of a specialized market research firm. Your in-house team may not have the resources or experience to handle a huge project.
Once you have an idea of what your project will entail and who will be helping you out with it, you’ll need to give it a thorough analysis. How hard will it be to execute every step of the process? How large a sample size will you need? What kind of methodology? What will the final summary need to look like? To whom will it be presented?
What kind of market research can you reasonably afford to do? Is the problem you’re addressing a tactical one, which could be affordably small-scale, or a strategic one, which could reveal a series of prohibitively expensive solution? Will the budget dollars be available in a time frame that makes sense within the parameters of the project? (For instance: If you can pay for the project, but not for any recommendations that arise from it, what’s the point in doing the market research in the first place?) Finally, you’ll need to determine what the information you’re looking for is worth to you.
Finally, you’ll have to get together with your research team to develop a methodology. What’s your sample group going to look like? How big will it be? Will you survey them by phone? By mail? Using the Internet? Will you use focus groups? How will you analyze your data? How will you organize and present it?
When you’re ready to take on a big education market research project, MarketingWorks can be there to help you plan it, execute it, and analyze the data. Contact us today, or check out who we’ve worked with in the past.