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When to use secondary market research

By Samantha Garner | October 29, 2010

In our last post, we talked about the four types of primary market research. Secondary market research is also available to entrepreneurs looking to understand their market better – the size of their target market; the needs, attitudes and behaviours of customers; desired price points; and customer satisfaction levels

What is secondary market research?

Secondary market research is information that’s collected by another person or organization that entrepreneurs can use, often for a fee. If you’re interested in opening a book shop, you may access statistical information collected by the Canadian government on things like income levels in your desired area, spending patterns and neighbourhood development. This data was collected by someone other than you or your business, and you don’t own it – it’s secondary market research.

Pros and cons of secondary market research

Secondary market research is great for entrepreneurs who want to be as prepared as they can to open their business. It’s often cheaper and less time-consuming than primary market research, and publicly available from libraries, websites and trade associations. However, we do have some words of caution when using secondary market research.

Unlike primary market research, data from other sources isn’t gathered with your specific business in mind. This means you may need to access several sources of secondary data, or you may not be able to find information that covers exactly what you need to know.

Look out also for when the research was undertaken – in our opinion, a study older than three years is too old, given how fast the business world moves.

It’s also important to consider the source of your primary market research. Look for legitimate sources that wouldn’t have been swayed by the almighty dollar. Good sources of secondary market research are government organizations, research institutions, universities and academic journals.

The most important thing to keep in mind when analyzing secondary market research? Don’t believe everything you read! Relying on old, inaccurate or irrelevant information can cost your small business a lot of time, money and stress. Analyze everything carefully and trust your instincts.

Topics: Small Business Tips and Advice | 1 Comment »

One Response to “When to use secondary market research”

  1. Ron Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Many reports have a bias in them, try to find out who have paid for the research, look at the footnotes or the references.

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