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How secondary market research could work for your business

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Last editedApr 20212 min read

No matter what line of business you work in, understanding your potential markets and learning exactly what customers expect from your business can be invaluable. After all, if you don’t know what consumers are looking for and how much they’re willing to pay for it, how accurately will you be able to calibrate your product or service offering and pricing structure before you go to market

Many businesses embrace this simple truth first hand by embarking on in-depth market research, but the fact is a quicker and cheaper alternative exists in the form of secondary market research.

What is secondary market research?

In simple terms, secondary market research consists of pulling together data and information that has already been gathered by other sources. Whatever sector you operate in, you can assume that huge amounts of information already exist that relate to the goods and services you provide and the kind of customer base you are looking for. Data such as this can prove invaluable when attempting accurate customer segmentation.

You need to track that information down. In the digital age, information is easier to access than it’s ever been, and the emphasis of effective secondary market research has shifted from simply tracking the right information down to being able to extract the relevant details from the huge amounts of data that can be accessed. 

One of the huge advantages of secondary market research is that it involves a much lower investment in terms of time and money when compared to primary market research. 

How secondary market research can be used

In the first instance, secondary market research can form an excellent basis for the creation of a primary market research plan. By seeing what kind of information other bodies have been able to gather, and analysing how that information could inform your future business decisions, you’ll be able to draw up a plan for the kind of research that you could carry out on your own behalf. 

In many cases, the secondary research will provide all the information you need on the general state of a market and the current customer expectations, leaving you free to carry out primary research into issues that are highly specific to your own business offering to complete the picture. 

What is internal secondary market research?

Although the first thing that springs to mind when considering secondary market research is usually to look beyond your business and to external sources of data, it is actually possible to gather valuable insights by researching within the business itself. Each department of your business will gather huge amounts of data on a daily basis, and the figures from different departments can be cross-referenced to create valuable insights. 

For example, the data that details the work carried out by the marketing department could be compared with the data gathered by the sales department in order to ascertain how effective your marketing efforts are. If you find, for example, that sales have risen dramatically in the wake of past email marketing campaigns, this information could be used to shift the emphasis of your wider marketing effort in that direction. 

What external sources of secondary market research are there?

Specific external sources of secondary market research will differ from sector to sector, but some which are applicable across a range of industries include the following:

  • Commercial market research from bodies such as Ipsos Mori and Kantor

  • Government publications from bodies like the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

  • Reports compiled by competitors in the same field

  • Trade publications

  • General media coverage of the sector

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