We’re sure that you know that no matter how big or small your company is, marketing is important for any sort of business success — why else would highly successful Fortune 500 companies spend millions of dollars on Superbowl ads every year? That being said, approaching marketing the wrong way can be even worse for your business than not marketing at all, because a bad marketing campaign will attract the wrong people ofnobody at all (or worse, make people dislike your company).

In order to understand how to develop your marketing materials, when you should use them and where they should go, you will have to gain a better understanding of your target audience. This is done?through market research. If you want your market research to actually benefit your marketing campaign, you need to approach it with a specific plan and set of goals in mind. That being said,here are five factors that you absolutely must consider when doing a market research:

1. Is the target market worth anything for my business?

The purpose of researching a market is to figure out how you can best attract those who are likely to buy your company’s products or services. But what if the target market even isn’t interested in, and has no need for the types ofofferings that your company provides in the first place? This?would that even thinking about these people would be a waste of time for your marketing efforts.

As such, it is critical?that you carefully consider whether the market segment that you intend to research has a reasonable level of interest in or use for what you plan on selling them.

2. Is the target market manageable enough?

We know you want to sell your products to everyone with a remote interest in your company’s offerings. However, trying to research everyone at once isn’t practical. No matter your industry, the range of people who want or could find a use for your company’s products is too wide for you to effectively research them all at once.

In order for you rule a marker segment, you need to gain a thorough understanding of where they look, how they prefer to be approached etc. If you approach a crowd that is too diverse, then your market research results will be scattered and inaccurate. This could cause you to make marketing decisions that are no better than ones made without any research done at all.

Instead of using the shotgun approach by researching any and everyone who might be interesting in your company’s offerings, find out if your primary market fits inaniche. If this is the case, you should proceed with your research, because niche markets tend to fit together inamanageable way. If they do not, however, break them down into smaller market segments until you have a group that can fit into buyer personas.

3. Who will I be fighting to attract the target market?

You’re not alone in your industry. Even if your product is unique, there is something out there that can accomplish a similar goal for your customers; thus you have competition. You should account for this in your market research, because how consumers respond to your competition’smarketing efforts should influence how you market.

4. What do I want out of my market research in the first place?

Now that you know who you want to research, it is time to consider why.

The ultimate goal of your market research is to improve your marketing campaign, but how? If you don’t carefully think about what you want out of your market research, you will quickly get caught up in time wasting, arbitrary analysis of data that you don’t even need.

Make sure that your goals are clear cut before you brainstorm the questions inasingle survey.

5. Do I need help doing my market research?

If you aren’t careful, market research can quickly become an expensive, time consuming endeavor. If you feel like your research could cause these types of problems, this doesn’t mean that you should cut back on it. Instead, you need to determine whether or not you need some help.

When you are done with the planning stages, take a step back and honestly consider what resources you can dedicate to your research; if they exceed what you can afford to give up, then outsourcing should be a serious consideration.

Don’t approach your market research with a blindfold on

The purpose of market research is to open your eyes to what you need to do in order to get the most business benefits possible out of your marketing campaign. Making sure that you consider the five factors above will make sure that you aren’t approaching your research with your eyes wide shut.