Magazine article Independent Banker

Ask, and They Will Tell

Magazine article Independent Banker

Ask, and They Will Tell

Article excerpt

Consider these tips for producing effective market research you can use

Research is a critical marketing function that helps you evaluate customer needs and attitudes, determine trends in your market, size-up the competition, develop and redesign products, and test communications. At a minimum, many bankers rely on research to prioritize their product development and measure customers' perceptions. This month I share some tips to help you conduct effective market research, no matter what your purpose.

STAY OBJECTIVE, STATE OBJECTIVES

The best way to remain objective is to hire an outside, independent researcher to design and conduct your survey. Find someone with consumer research experience, good communications skills and impeccable references. Most important, however, you should feel comfortable working with this person, and trust their judgment and understanding of your business.

Outline the main objectives of your survey, and specifically what you want to learn. Do you want to assess your bank's image or test specific product ideas? Are you doing a consumer needs assessment or evaluating your competitive advantages? Be clear and focused.

CHOOSE THE PROPER MEDIUM

Select the best research tools for your project. Qualitative research involves asking open-ended questions (ones that require an expansive response) and summarizing results. It is used with smaller samples to determine trends and identify perceptions. Quantitative research asks a larger (statistically valid) sample a series of closed-ended questions (ones that force yes, no or single-choice answers).

Both kinds of research can be conducted with written surveys, by phone or in person. Written surveys are the least expensive, but can result in more unanswered or misunderstood questions. Often, qualitative work is conducted first to develop hypotheses that are tested with quantitative research. …

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