Market Research Part II – Customers Buying Habits

by Herb Lawrence on March 26, 2010

Arkansas State University – Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center Director, Herb Lawrence contributes another great article on knowing your potential customers:

Market Research Part II Learning about Your Potential Customers Buying Habits

Last week I introduced some of the resources that the ASU SBTDC consultant use when conducting Market Research about a particular industry, I hope you found it helpful.  Today I want to focus on effective market research tools to help learn more about your potential customers and how they buy.

Consumer market research tells my entrepreneur:

  • How many potential customers are in the trade zone
  • How much they will spend on a product or service
  • Where they are located
  • What demographic, socio-graphic or other factors influence buying decisions and how to break the market into homogenous sub groups to target

The first place my consultants start is at Hill Search, the James J. Hill on Line Reference Library for a lot of our clients initial market research needs. Three separate Hill Library resources that we access include:

  • DemographicsNow database -provides extensive demographic information about households and basic consumer expenditure data on trade zones (by zip code, town, county, MSA, state or region).
  • Hill Library New Strategist Demographic eBooks, over 30 on-line books with specific information about how much consumers spend on a wide variety of products and services broken out by demographic sub categories.  One example is “Who is Buying Apparel” and “Best Customers: Demographics of Consumer Demand” eBooks to get detailed expenditure information on jewelry by a variety of demographic sub categories including income, age, education, and more.  This information combined with the county household demographics will determine not only overall county demand for a product or service and segment the households to find out who the best potential customers may be.
  • Hill Library Special Issues database, for industry reports outlining the trends of the past year and forecasts for the coming year.

The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center network offices are all paid members of the Hill Search Library which means that their clients have access to all of this data through the center at no charge.  Plus the ASBTDC staff provides free assistance in analyzing the data and helping the client make decisions based on the information.  There is no charge to be a client, nor for any assistance through the centers.

Finding good, reliable market research data is possible.  It is just a matter of knowing where to look.  The Hill Library is an excellent tool, or using the free services of the ASBTDC to help develop initial market research.     Next week, “drilling down” to find customers in your trade zone using Dominant Tapestry Segmentation programs.

One comment on “Market Research Part II – Customers Buying Habits

  1. Herb Lawrence on said:

    Thanks Christi enjoy having an opportunity to post to your great blog. Hope your readers are able to use this information. Will talk about finding Benchmarking Financial Information next week….

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