How to Market Your Small Business

Conducting Market Research and Analysis

Political and Social Analysis

Depending upon the nature of the business, operations may be affected by local, state, regional, national, and world political situations. National deregulations, tax increases, or elimination of trade barriers, for example, can have a profound impact. At the state or local level, the acceptance or rejection of bond issues, election of new officials, or renovation plans might affect a company’s marketing philosophy. The media, periodicals, trade journals, and general business publications are good references.

Social analysis includes a study of the demographics of the customer base. Important factors include the age groupings, income level, type of employment, mobility, marital status, and leisure habits of customers, as well as the number of women and teenagers in the local work force. Chambers of commerce are helpful in gathering local information.

Product and Service Analysis

Products and services must be as current and varied as the market demands. Access to supplies and the ability to effectively distribute the product are vital. Decisions concerning the extent of product line or services are ultimately determined by the needs and wants of potential customers, and vary with changing trends, sales results, and customer demands or perceptions. Market analysis, product testing, and continued sales observance reveal customer preferences and reactions.

    • A few products often account for the majority of sales volume
    • Marginal products drain cash flow and management time
    • Increasing management time or advertising dollars will not increase sales of a product perceived by consumers as defective or inferior
    • Offering even one poor product diminishes
      the image of a firm’s other products
    • Modifications and changes in customers’ perception of the product often extend product life
    • “Trendy” products may experience initial popularity, but almost immediately fizzle
  • General Guidelines for Product Development:

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